A new Republican proposal in the Texas state legislature would strip state employees of their salaries if they recognise same-sex marriages.

Judge Orlando Garcia struck down the state’s marriage ban in February 2014, but stayed the ruling, meaning it will not come into effect until the appeals process is concluded.

The case is currently being heard at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal – and a ruling in favour of equality could see same-sex couples begin to marry across the state.

However, a bill submitted by Republican Cecil Bell would enshrine in law that government employees “may not recognize, grant, or enforce a same-sex marriage license” – even if the lawsuit is successful.

The bill also states that government employees who break the rules “may not continue to receive a salary, pension, or other employee benefit at the expense of the taxpayers of this State”.

The move could see clerks, registrars, and thousands of administrators across the state given a choice between being forced to illegally discriminate against same-sex families, and losing their entire income.