Lesbian judge refuses to officiate heterosexual marriage ceremonies

Tonya Parker

Tonya Parker

DALLAS — An openly lesbian judge in Dallas County, Texas says she refuses to officiate marriage ceremonies for heterosexual couples until the state of Texas allows same-sex partners to wed.

Tonya Parker

Judge Tonya Parker, who was the first openly lesbian judge elected to the bench in 2010, told a gathering of Stonewall Democrats in Dallas that it’s “oxymoronic” to only be able to perform weddings for a certain group of people.

Parker said she refers them to other judges because of the state’s marriage inequality, informing them that that is why she will not marry them.

“I use it as my opportunity to give them a lesson about marriage inequality in this state because I feel like I have to tell them why I’m turning them away,” Parker said. “So I usually will offer them something along the lines of ‘I’m sorry. I don’t perform marriage ceremonies because we are in a state that does not have marriage equality, and until it does, I am not going to partially apply the law to one group of people that doesn’t apply to another group of people.’”

“It’s kind of oxymoronic for me to perform ceremonies that can’t be performed for me, so I’m not going to do it,” she added.

Watch, courtesy the Dallas Voice:

Parker released a statement Thursday clarifying her position:

“I faithfully and fully perform all of my duties as the Presiding Judge of the 116th Civil District Court, where it is my honor to serve the citizens of Dallas County and the parties who have matters before the Court. Performing marriage ceremonies is not a duty that I have as the Presiding Judge of a civil district court,” Parker said.

“It is a right and privilege invested in me under the Family Code. I choose not to exercise it, as many other Judges do not exercise it. Because it is not part of our duties, some Judges even charge a fee to perform the ceremonies. I do not, and would never, impede any person’s right to get married,” she added.

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