Texas state Rep. James White, a Republican from District 19 in southeast Texas, has reportedly written to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wanting clarification on the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which made marriage equality the law in the U.S.
The letter, shared by several reporters and organizations on Twitter, showed the date it was sent to be October 19.
In a tweet, the Lincoln Project wrote, “Marriage equality is the law of the land — except in Texas, argues the state GOP. Legislative leaders in TX issued an opinion stating legalized gay marriage shouldn’t be permitted in the Lone Star State because they feel state law trumps the SCOTUS ruling in Obergefell v Hodges.”
The posted letter’s subject read, “Whether Obergefell v. Hodges … requires private citizens to recognize homosexual marriages when the law of Texas continues to define marriage exclusively as the union of one man and one woman.”
White wrote in his letter that Texas's state laws continue to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. He also referred to parts of the state’s legislation that forbid the recognition of any marriage-like arrangements, such as civil unions.
“The State of Texas has not amended or repealed its marriage laws in response to Obergefell v. Hodges ;… . And the Supreme Court has no power to amend formally or revoke a state statute or constitutional provision — even after opining that the state law violates the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution,” White wrote.
Dallas Morning News reporter Lauren McGaughy wrote in a Twitter thread that Texas lawmakers have also never repealed a state statute that makes “homosexual conduct” a misdemeanor.
State Rep. Julie Johnson, a Texas Democrat representing District 115 and who is married to a woman, responded to the letter on Twitter. She wrote, “Now, [Texas Legislature] Republic colleagues don't think the love my wife and I have is good enough to make a lifetime commitment to each other.”
Johnson added: “Enough is enough! Cut the BS theatrics. You are embarrassing Texas.”
Earlier this week, the Texas legislature passed a bill barring transgender students in public schools from participating on the sports teams comporting with their gender identity, and Gov. Greg Abbott, a far-right Republican, is likely to sign it into law. Abbott's office has also come under fire for allegedly taking down a resource page for LGBTQ+ youth that included a suicide and crisis hotline.