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Gay Texas Judge Refuses To Wed Straight Couples

By Brock Keeling on SFist

A Texas judge made her staunch stance on gay marriage publicly known on Tuesday, and her position might surprise you. Judge Tonya Parker of Dallas County made the bold decision to no longer marry couples until same-sex marriage is legal. “I do not perform them because it is not an equal application of the law. Period,” she explained at a monthly meeting for the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

Although she will no longer conduct marriage ceremonies, she does respectfully tell amorous couples why she won’t wed them and then passes them along to another judge. As reported by NY Daily News, she said:

“I use it as my opportunity to give them a lesson about marriage equality in the state because I feel like I have to tell them why I’m turning them away,” she said.”So I usually will offer them something along the lines of, ‘I’m sorry. I don’t perform marriage ceremonies because we are in a state that does not have marriage equality, and until it does, I am not going to partially apply the law to one group of people that doesn’t apply to another group of people.’

“And it’s kind of oxymoronic for me to perform ceremonies that can’t be performed for me, so I’m not going to do it,” she added.

Not that you need further explaining about the Lone Star state’s stance on LGBT rights, but same-sex marriage is illegal in Texas.

Following her remarks at the Stonewall Democrats meeting this week, Judge Parker released the following statement to the media on Thursday afternoon:

I faithfully and fully perform all of my duties as the Presiding Judge of the 116th Civil District Court, where it is my honor to serve the citizens of Dallas County and the parties who have matters before the Court.Performing marriage ceremonies is not a duty that I have as the Presiding Judge of a civil district court. It is a right and privilege invested in me under the Family Code. I choose not to exercise it, as many other Judges do not exercise it. Because it is not part of our duties, some Judges even charge a fee to perform the ceremonies.

I do not, and would never, impede any person’s right to get married. In fact, when people wander into my courtroom, usually while I am presiding over other matters, I direct them to the Judges in the courthouse who do perform marriage ceremonies. If my deputy is not busy, I will even ask him to escort or help these individuals find another Judge who performs the ceremonies. I do this because I believe in the right of people to marry and pursue happiness.

Parker is the first openly lesbian African-American elected official in the great state of Texas.

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