Friday, March 20, 2020

Texas Judge Sues Over Right To Oppose Same-Sex Marriage

A county judge in Jack County, Texas has filed suit in a Texas federal district court seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent any future enforcement action by the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct against him. The complaint (full text) in Umphress v. Hall, (ND TX, filed 3/18/2020) alleges in part:
A few months ago, the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a “public warning” to Dianne Hensley, a justice of the peace who recuses herself from officiating at same-sex marriage ceremonies on account of her Christian faith....  The Commission’s interpretation of Canon 4A(1) threatens every judge in Texas who refuses to perform same-sex marriages, as well as those who publicly evince disapproval of same-sex marriage or homosexual conduct in their extra-judicial activities.....
The Court should therefore declare that the First Amendment protects Judge Umphress’s right to conduct his extra-judicial activities in a manner that evinces disapproval of same-sex marriage and homosexual conduct.
Pink News reports on the lawsuit.