Lawmaker aims to prevent federal ruling from allowing same-sex marriage in Texas

Cecil Bell

Cecil Bell

AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas state lawmaker has authored legislation that would strip state and other public employees of their salaries and benefits if they issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple.

Cecil Bell

Cecil Bell

The Texas Tribune reports that Rep. Cecil Bell (R-Magnolia, Texas) on Wednesday introduced the “Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act,” a House bill aimed at preventing any federal court or federal action from allowing same-sex marriage in Texas.

“The federal government is trying to act to create moral standards, and that’s just not acceptable,” Bell said.

His bill says taxes or public funds can’t be used to issue same-sex marriage licenses or be used to enforce a court order to recognize same-sex marriage, and that any government employee who violates the provision would be prohibited from collecting “a salary, pension, or other employee benefit.”

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The bill also requires state courts to dismiss legal actions that challenge a provision of the bill and award legal costs and attorney fees to the defendants.

Bell says the 11th Amendment gives states sovereign immunity, and that Texas isn’t subject to a lawsuit for complying with the act — regardless of a contradictory federal ruling.

On Friday, a federal appeals court in New Orleans heard arguments in a challenge to Texas’ same-sex marriage ban. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia declared the ban unconstitutional in February 2014. The ruling has been on hold pending the appeal.

Texas is one of 14 states still enforcing a same-sex marriage ban.

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