Editorials

Senate marriage license bill pure demagoguery

THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has seen all his high-priority bills pass the Senate only to be held up in the House.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has seen all his high-priority bills pass the Senate only to be held up in the House. AP

It looks like the Texas House is about to receive another bit of demagoguery packaged as Senate-passed legislation, a completely unnecessary bill letting county clerks register their objection to same-sex marriage by withholding their signatures from marriage licenses.

The House can throw it on a growing pile of bills headed nowhere. House leaders are the level-headed adults of this legislative session.

On its face, SB 522 by Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, lets clerks recuse themselves from a duty of their office to observe their sincerely held religious beliefs.

But it’s been well-established for almost two years that clerks can refuse to sign same-sex marriage certificates so long as they appoint someone else to sign in their place.

This sort of ideological posturing from the Senate has been par for the course this session, owing in large part to its leadership from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

At the session’s outset, Patrick designated 25 bills as his top legislative priorities, ranging from tax and spending caps to outlawing sanctuary cities to determining which bathrooms Texans should use.

The Senate has passed all 25 of those bills, but so far all but one remains buried in the House. That lone exception is the 2018-19 state budget, which the House has passed but with a far different approach to that of the Senate.

Not all of those bills are bad. Some will pass by the time the session ends May 29 — but hopefully not SB 522.

  Comments