Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has just told county clerks they don’t have to uphold the sacred oath to which they swore when they took office.
I don’t know where to begin.
Paxton issued a statement today that said county clerks do not have to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if they have religious objections. He has challenged the legal opinion of a majority of the nine men and women who sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled 5-4 this past week that gay marriage is now legal in the United States of America.
Texas county clerks, according to Paxton, are now free to flout federal law.
“Our religious liberties find protection in state and federal constitutions and statutes,” Paxton said in a statement. “While they are indisputably our first freedom, we should not let them be our last.”
Yes, they do “find protection” in the law. But there’s another factor that Paxton and others who oppose the court ruling are giving short shrift. It is that county clerks — as well as state attorneys general, I should add — take an oath to follow federal and state law. They swear to God that they’ll do that.
Is that oath now rendered moot? Why bother, then, to swear to uphold the Constitution?