• Source: Facebook
  • Texas Judge Says Because Of His 'Faith In God' He Will 'Only Be Conducting Traditional Marriages'

    Legal Experts Say Republican Justice of the Peace's Policy Violates Law

    A Republican justice of the peace in Dallas County, Texas, is refusing to perform marriages for same-sex couples based on his religious beliefs, in what appears to be a blatant violation of the law. 

    "As I said back in June of last year, because of my faith in God as a devout Catholic, I will be only be conducting traditional marriages," Bill Metzger wrote on his Facebook page this week. Metzger cited an opinion issued by Attorney General Ken Paxton that he says "came as a result of a request from Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick."

    "As such, it is not true for someone to say they are required by law to conduct a non-traditional wedding," Metzger claims.

    In that opinion, Paxton concluded judges and justices of the peace "may claim that the government cannot force them to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies over their religious objections, when other authorized individuals have no objection, because it is not the least restrictive means of the government ensuring the ceremonies occur." 

    "The strength of any such claim depends on the particular facts of each case," Paxton wrote. 

    However, Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan issued an opinion addressing the same issue and concluded: "A judge or justice of the peace is authorized to perform a marriage but is under no obligation to do so. However, once the judge elects to undertake the performance of marriages, the service must be offered to all (including same-sex couples) in a non-discriminatory manner." 

    Attorney Cece Cox, executive director of Dallas' LGBT community center, agreed with Ryan.

    "If he chooses not to marry a gay couple, he’ll be in violation of the law," Cox told WFAA-TV. 

    Added retired Dallas County District Judge John Creuzot, a Democrat and longtime LGBT ally: 

    "He’s not on solid legal footing, either by the laws of the state of Texas, or the Constitution. If I do marriages, I either do none or all. ... It’s a bad signal to be a judge, even if it is a justice of the peace, and then make an independent decision that you’re going to follow the law for some folks and not for others." 

     

    UPDATE:
    In order for Metzler's policy to be declared illegal, someone will have to challenge it. If you're a same-sex couple interested in doing so, contact his office by going here. If he turns you down, call attorney Austin Kaplan at 512-553-9390, or Jan Soifer at 512-583-0451. They're the civil rights attorneys who sued the clerk in Hood County, Texas, when she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, eventually winning a $43,000 settlement

     

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    • commented 2016-02-10 12:13:55 -0500
      @ Dale.

      Agreed! And, I don’t understand why some folks don’t ‘get’ that.

      He’s a public servant. That means his job is to … serve the public (ALL of it), not judge them.

      If SSM is ‘against his religion’, he is perfectly free not to HAVE one. But, he doesn’t GET to make that decision for OTHER people.

    • commented 2016-02-10 10:21:29 -0500
      As long as we are forced (through our taxes) to contribute to a government employee’s salary, they should not have the right to refuse service to us.

    • commented 2016-02-10 10:00:38 -0500
      @ Caleb Deehan,

      Re: “To say that the 14th Amendment is for the LGBT …”

      Actually, it is for EVERYONE. As in, “NO State shall deprive ANY citizen of the equal protections of the law.”

      Re: “His freedom of Relgion [sic] doesn’t become curtailed by his job”

      Actually, it does. His job is as a representative of the State, so … see above.

      Re: “refer to your precious 14th Amendment.”

      We do. We’re just not selective about it.

      Re: “He swore to uphold and protect the constitution”

      Which, per the 14th, promises , EVERYONE the equal protections of the law, not just those who believe as the judge seems to.

      Re: “he’s practicing his freedom”

      No. That would be him not having a same-sex marriage if his faith teaches him that it is ‘wrong’/a ‘sin’.But he is insisting that ALL members of the public abide by HIS tenets instead of their own, as the 1st Amendment promises them they can. Sorry, but public servants issuing secular, civil marriage licenses to members of the public(ALL of them) is NOT a ‘religious exercise’. Re: “and your privilege does not trump his rights.”

      Sorry, but having the equal protections of the law is NOT a “privilege”. It is a right. He has the right to believe as he wants to, but has NO such ‘right’ to discriminate against SOME citizens BECAUSE of his beliefs.

    • commented 2016-02-10 08:40:49 -0500
      Caleb, your excuse for why the 14th amendment doesnt apply to the LGBT could also be used for the 2nd endment against the modern day gun rights and today’s “religious freedom” claims of the 1st amendment. Its not what they were originally intended for, but that hasn’t stopped them from being used as they are. The 14th amendment applies whether you like it or not, and the funny thing is that it’s exactly what curtails his job from allowing him to use his religion to discriminate, which is exactly what he’s doing with this policy. Its not a “priviledge” to get equal treatment, being allowing to ignore laws and our constitution because of personal faiths and beliefs is.

    • commented 2016-02-09 22:44:45 -0500
      Dear Spencer;

      Thanks for responding, it’s always nice to have someone to duke it out with.

      1.) The 14th admendment was originally ratified in 1868 during the reconstruction, this law was to protect blacks from a real and credible threat posed in the south. You have no such mass scale threat, in fact, now in days your treated better then most groups are. To say that the 14th admendment is for the LGBT like it was for the slaves is a grievous misuse of its power.

      2.) His freedom of Relgion doesn’t become curtailed by his job, refer to your precious 14th admendment.

      3.) He swore to uphold and protect the constitution, he’s practicing his freedom and your privilege does not trump his rights.

      This response to me was laughable.

    • commented 2016-02-09 18:52:23 -0500
      Caleb Deehan: You’re right in that Marriage isn’t in the constitution. But what is in the constitution (and supported by the 14th amendment) is the guarantee of equal treatment for United States Citizens, and that includes LGBT citizens. As such, if states wish to offer marriage, they are required to offer it to everyone and not just to people who those like you think are allowed to have it. On top of this, his freedom to practice his religion does not belong in a government position as it is a public service, not private. This goes double when said religion directly violates the previously mentioned rules of equal treatment. He has absolutely no “right” or “freedom” to use his personally chosen faith to ignore the constitution he swore an oath to defend upon getting his job by picking and choosing who he deems is liable for his services.

    • commented 2016-02-09 16:51:24 -0500
      Hi, Religious Bigot here, marriage isn’t found anywhere in the constitution. With that being said, marriage is a reserved power for the states and the U.S Supreme Court had no right or legal authroity to rule in on the matter. Not only that, his freedom to practice his Relgion and not have violated by outside influences trumps your, “right,” to marry who you please. Perhaps you should all check yourself before you start pointing fingers.

    • commented 2016-02-08 10:15:13 -0500
      Yet…vanity doesn’t seem to be an issue…appears to own a tanning bed…yet another bigot who hides behind religion.

    • commented 2016-02-07 02:20:53 -0500
      Your rights extend to the tip of my nose. You’re not the one getting married. I see that Kim Davis hasn’t resigned. She loves her $80k/yr. more than Jesus but, if she can violate gay couples and it doesn’t cost her anything, then she is God’s biggest cheerleader.

    • commented 2016-02-07 02:12:55 -0500
      So why doesn’t he resign for Jesus? Why is he conducting marriages for divorcees? That’s a sin. Because he is a bigot. Religion fosters evil in people.

    • commented 2016-02-07 01:16:45 -0500
      I love the update telling how to get this guy!

    • commented 2016-02-07 00:04:29 -0500
      @ Ben Voegele,

      Who is this “bud” to whom you are referring? One of the commenters or the idjit judge? It’s not clear, and your comments are sent to all who’ve posted.

    • commented 2016-02-06 23:54:03 -0500
      Sorry bud, but this article is as famous as you’re gonna get.

    • commented 2016-02-05 21:05:34 -0500
      “Religious freedom” does not mean the right to force other law-abiding citizens to abide by your rules. Gay couples are allowed to marry, and if you are paid by the taxpayers to do your job … DO YOUR JOB.

    • commented 2016-02-05 15:19:38 -0500
      Then, because of his faith, he is not qualified to be a judge.

    • commented 2016-02-05 14:44:22 -0500
      Look at that hair transplant. Lighter hair from back transplanted amongst the dark hair in front. Vanity, a deadly sin there god boy.

    • commented 2016-02-05 14:25:41 -0500
      @ M. HAYDEN EZEKIEL SUTHERLAND

      “closet”?

    • commented 2016-02-05 14:25:04 -0500
      Here are the reasons the judge’s philosophies are illegal:
      Supremacy Clause and the 1st and 14th Amendments of the Constitution.
      The Supremacy Clause means that the Constitution takes precedence over state law in subjects covered by the Constitution;
      The first half of the First Amendment clearly disallows the transference of religious doctrine into our laws;
      The 14th Amendment disallows discrimination of all US citizens, aka, the Amendment’s first section, The Equal Protection Clause.
      Because GOPers/FCPers intentionally misinterpret/ misapply the Constitution, they believe that the “…free exercise thereof..” part of the First Amendment (religion) allows them to be bigots and discriminate against anyone they don’t like.

    • commented 2016-02-05 14:17:40 -0500
      I would say that the jackass GOPer/FCPer (Fascist Christian Plutartheocrat) judge needs to read the Constitution and pay attention to recent legal precedents, but, as we all sadly ,know, GOPers/FCPers intentionally misinterpret or misapply the laws and Biblical doctrine to forward their Fascist agenda.
      As George Olds correctly points out, there’s really no definition of a “traditional” marriage in the Bible that says, “one man, one woman”. There are seven definitions of marriage in the Bible, but none are “one man and one woman”.

    • commented 2016-02-05 13:47:09 -0500
      Re: " “Because of my faith in God as a devout Catholic I will be only be conducting traditional marriages."

      Um, WHICH “tradition(s)”???

      Biblically, traditional marriage was more often than not between one man and many women – as many as he could afford to buy. Women were, legally, “chattel” back then – literally objects that could be bought, sold and traded at whim. As in, “A pig and 2 goats for your daughter, sir?”

      Elsewhere in the Bible, marriage was, “traditionally”, between a woman and her rapist.

      It was also, Biblically, ‘traditionally’, between a man and his brother’s widow.

      Or, did he mean the North American Indian tribes that have allowed their “two-spirited” folk to marry for centuries?

      Or, did he mean the Catholic “tradition” of same-sex marriages that the Church had to step in and forbid? (Calling Saints Sergius and Bacchus!)

      Or, did he mean Jerry Lee Lewis’s American “tradition” of marrying your 13 year old cousin – and have that marriage recognized … in ALL other States?

      Or, did he mean the pre-1967, pre-Loving v. Virginia “tradition” of only marrying same-race couples?

      So many “traditions”, he must be very conflicted.

      Didn’t he swear an oath to God to serve ALL of his constituents “without partiality” (like Kim Davis did)?

    • commented 2016-02-05 12:12:38 -0500
      Uh… Wasn’t TexASS going to secede from the Union if marriage equality was made legal?

      Bye-Bye, Felicia! ;)

    • commented 2016-02-05 11:04:59 -0500
      If that’s not a closet cock sucker I’ll eat my hat!

    • commented 2016-02-05 10:00:24 -0500
      Another Texas politician that wants attention. If it was a true conviction he has he wouldn’t need to publicly state his belief and not set himself up for the confrontation he knows this will get into the news. It is baseless rhetoric we have heard ever since the court made the decisson.

    • commented 2016-02-05 07:51:23 -0500
      This story was excellent………right up until you started coercing people into suing for money. Sometimes I hate us as much as this idiot justice does.

    • commented 2016-02-05 02:09:24 -0500
      I’m pretty sure he took an oath to serve all the people, not just segments which he want to serve. He needs to vacate his office.

    • commented 2016-02-05 00:59:54 -0500
      Being a Judge or Justice of the Peace requires being elected into their position. As such they are representatives of the people as a whole, and thus are required to serve everybody equally as stated in their state’s Constitution. This includes those that they do not agree with on any level. In addition to this, as they are servants and representatives of the Government, they are required to obey the federal Constitution and its amendments, including the 14th amendment guaranteeing equal use of his duties and services to all people. The only way this man can only do “traditional” marriages is to drop his Judge title and become a priest.

    • commented 2016-02-05 00:11:36 -0500
      Reminds me of the bad old days.

      On their wedding day, turned away by NC magistrates

      http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article22949817.html

    • commented 2016-02-04 23:18:01 -0500
      Officials such as these can’t quite get the idea that they don’t have the right to force everyone else to live by their cultic purity rules. The Bible is not the Constitution.

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