Marriage Must Be Protected Now
July 02, 2015

One of the issues I worked on during the last legislative session was protecting the institution of marriage. I was proud to stand with my colleague, Cecil Bell, in his attempt to strengthen Texas’ marriage laws, prior to the Supreme Court ruling on the issue.

Unfortunately that issue was killed by the leadership of the Texas House.

I am more dedicated than ever to defending marriage and protecting the religious liberty of all Texans. That is why I asked Governor Abbott to call a special session and address this issue.

You can see the text of the letter below, and a copy of the letter here.

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Dear Governor Abbott,

Our state and nation are only as strong as the foundation laid by our families and our faith. Recognizing this, in 2005, 76 percent of Texans voted in support of a constitutional amendment affirming the true definition of marriage as consisting “only of the union of one man and one woman.”

Last week, five unelected judges in Washington D.C. took it upon themselves to invent a constitutional right, override the democratic process in Texas, and redefine marriage as something it is not. After Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion supporting County Clerks and other state officers who refused to issue same-sex “marriage” licenses or conduct ceremonies based on their religious beliefs, Sen. Rodney Ellis asked the Department of Justice to quash any religiously-motivated dissent among elected officials. If the DOJ complies with Sen. Ellis’ request, it will effectively prevent practicing Christians from holding certain public offices in the State of Texas, itself a violation of Texans’ constitutional rights. Thus, as it stands, there is what appears to be an irreconcilable constitutional conflict between religious liberty and the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court.

I believe the only viable solution that will preserve the institution of marriage while protecting the religious liberty of Texans is to remove government from marriage altogether. Accordingly, I respectfully urge you to call a special session of the 84th Legislature to (1) eliminate the requirement for individuals to obtain a government marriage license prior to undergoing a religious ceremony; (2) remove the authority for government officials to issue marriage licenses or conduct marriage ceremonies; (3) pass an expanded religious liberty protection bill that protects not only pastors, but private actors, as well; and (4) address changes to our existing legal framework which would be necessitated by such changes.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Rep. Matt Rinaldi


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