Ken Paxton May Face Contempt Charges For Refusing To Include Man’s Husband On Death Certificate

 
 
 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton got more bad legal news today: he might be charged with contempt of court over a gay man's death certificate.

Last year, James Stone-Hoskins and John Allen Stone-Hoskins were legally married in New Mexico. In January, James, terminally ill, died. His husband John has been fighting the State of Texas to have him listed on James' death certificate as his legal spouse, rather than "significant other," which it says now. James' death certificate also lists him as "single."

The Supreme Court's June 26 ruling should have made this very easy for the State of Texas, but thanks to its Attorney General, John Allen Stone-Hoskins has been embroiled in a lengthy legal battle. Officials say they have been reviewing the Supreme Court ruling and just haven't decided if it mandates action on their part.

To make matter worse and more pressing, John is terminally ill.

"I have a terminal liver disease, melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, breast disease, a heart defect, in addition to a defective aorta, which was not discovered until recently," John says in court documents today. "My doctors expect me to live another 45 to 60 days."

John, a former police officer, says in the filing he is trying to get his estate in order.

"I also wish to have the dignity of being listed on my deceased husband's death certificate," he asks.

This morning, after John Allen Stone-Hoskins filed a lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ordered Texas to make the appropriate change to his late husband's death certificate.

But Judge Garcia also demanded that Attorney General Ken Paxton and the State's interim commissioner of the Department of State Health Services, Ken Cole, appear before him next week to face possible contempt of court charges after he specifically ruled last month that Texas could not enforce its same-sex marriage ban. Paxton is accused of advising Cole on the handling of the death certificate.

Of course, this is the least of Paxton's legal woes. Last week the 52-year old Republican AG, a former Texas state lawmaker, was indicted on felony securities law violations. He was arrested, had his mugshot taken, and fingerprinted earlier this week.

 

This article has been updated. 

Image: Ken Paxton speaking at the virulently anti-gay Texas Eagle Forum last year, via Facebook
Hat tip: Washington Blade

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