Texas attorney general Ken Paxton ‘refusing to do his job’ because he opposes same-sex marriage

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

The Republican attorney general of Texas Ken Paxton has said he will refuse to defend a state body that rebuked an anti-LGBT judge.

Paxton, an avowed opponent of LGBT+ equality who fought bitterly against same-sex marriage, has refused to defend the state agency who took action against Dianne Hensley.

Dianne Hensley, who is a Justice of the Peace in McLennan County, received a formal warning  from the Texas Commission on Judicial Misconduct in December after she said God thinks gay weddings are “offensive” and vowed to only marry heterosexuals.

The judge has since launched a lawsuit against the misconduct authority, seeking $100,000 in damages and claiming that her rights have been infringed upon.

Texas attorney general won’t defend state body

Paxton has now confirmed he will refuse to defend the body on behalf of the state, effectively siding with Hensley in the case.

His spokesperson said: “We believe judges retain their right to religious liberty when they take the bench.”

Paxton’s office stressed that the misconduct body “is an independent agency authorised to represent itself in legal proceedings, which it typically does.”

Texas attorney general Ken Paxton

Texas attorney general Ken Paxton

However, LGBT+ activists have accused the Republican of “refusing to do his job” and effectively abandoning his oath to represent the state because of his anti-LGBT views.

Ken Paxton ‘refusing to do his job’

Ricardo Martinez, Equality Texas CEO, said:”One of the milestones most everyone dreams about is getting married. We all have a right to realize that dream without worrying about facing discrimination.

“Judges and clerks should do their job, follow the law, and issue marriage licenses without discrimination.

“Likewise, Ken Paxton should do his job, follow the law and defend state agencies’ ability to reign in rogue judges who are choosing to defy the law despite their oath to serve all Texans.”

He added: “This is not what Texans want or expect from elected officials. Discrimination of any kind is unacceptable. Their actions are mean spirited, futile, a waste of taxpayer money and most importantly, it’s wrong.”

Paxton has previously taken advantage of his role to back a bid to strip benefits from married same-sex couples.

The attorney general claimed that paying equal benefits was “subsidising same-sex marriages… on the same terms as traditional marriages”.