Dallas Morning News Jonathan Mitchell state Texas Marriage Equality Law Dallas Morning News Jonathan Mitchell state Texas

Texas Appeals Court Dismisses Anti-Marriage Equality Official's Suit

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right to religious freedom was violated when she was reprimanded for refusing to marry same-sex couples.Dianne Hensley, a justice of the peace in McLennan County, was reprimanded by the state’s Commission on Judicial Conduct in 2019.

She had quit performing marriages after the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling in 2015, then resumed in 2016 but served only heterosexual couples, The Dallas Morning News reports.

She said that officiating same-sex marriages would violate her Christian beliefs.After the disciplinary action, she filed a lawsuit saying the commission should be prevented “from investigating or sanctioning judges or justices of the peace who recuse themselves from officiating at same-sex weddings on account of their sincere religious beliefs.” Such sanctions are a violation of the state’s religious freedom law, her suit argued.But a three-judge panel of the Texas Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the law bans only “threatened or continued violation” of a person’s religious practice.

She had received a single reprimand, and the commission hadn’t expressed an intention to discipline her again, the judges said.

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