US: Texas judges offer free Valentine’s Day commitment ceremonies for gay couples
Two judges in Texas offered ‘commitment’ ceremonies to gay couples on Valentine’s Day, causing friction with some Republican politicians.
County Court-at-Law Judge John Lipscombe and his wife Judge Jan Breland, a retired judge, extended a 25-year old tradition to offer free courthouse weddings on Valentine’s Day, to gay couples.
Issuing a statement, the pair of judges said as well as weddings for opposite-sex couples, the event would include “free commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples”.
Despite that no couples took up the offer, several Republican politicians got angry, citing the state’s constitutional amendment which specifically defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
Todd Staples, Agriculture Commissioner noted the 2005 constitutional amendment saying: “It’s wrong for a sitting judge to hold a ceremony mocking our state constitution.”
“It is the responsibility of our judges to uphold the rule of law, and every Texan should be upset with this clear attempt to use their trusted position as a seat for activism.”
37 straight couples took up the offer, and married in the courtroom decorated with red hearts, flowers, stuffed animals and photos of Elvis and Marilyn Monroe.
One gay couple did turn up, but left afterwards, noting that they did not want the media attention.
When asked about the criticism, Judge Breland simply said: “Bring ’em on.”