ACLU Comment on Gov. Abbott’s Memo on Religious Liberty and First Amendment Rights

Affiliate: ACLU of Texas
June 26, 2015 4:45 pm

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HOUSTON – Today, following a U.S. Supreme Court decision affording gay and lesbian couples the same legal right to marry and recognition of their marriages as different-sex couples, Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott issued a memo to all state agency directors directing them to “preserve” religious liberty, which is already protected by the U.S. Constitution. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also issued a statement on states’ constitutional rights and stated the next fight is religious liberty.

Rebecca L. Robertson, legal & policy director, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas:

“Try as they might, there is little that Ken Paxton or Greg Abbott can do today to quell the joy of so many Texans celebrating their constitutional right to marry. Religious liberty is a fundamental right protected by the First Amendment, but that doesn’t mean that government officials can use their personal religious beliefs to avoid following the law regarding marriage. Government officials who take an oath to uphold the law are required to treat all Texans equally, regardless of who they are or whom they love.”

Earlier today, Terri Burke, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas, issued the following statement:

“Today’s Supreme Court decision has achieved what was, until very recently, unthinkable: marriage equality in Texas. At long last, loving LGBT couples throughout the state have the freedom to marry as well as equal respect and protection for their marriages. We intend to take the momentum from this historic victory for equality into cities and towns across the state, where in many places LGBT Texans can still be fired, evicted, or refused service simply because of who they are. We must ensure that every Texan, everywhere and always, is free from discrimination.”

  • Digitized recording of ACLU Supreme Court Marriage Briefing featuring James Esseks, Director of the ACLU LGBT Project, as well as ACLU plaintiffs: Start: 06/26/15 at 02:00P / End: 06/27/15 at 11:59P (TZ: Eastern); Telephone: (USA) (800) 475-6701 / (International) (320) 365-3844; Access Code: 363540.
  • ACLU of Texas Toll-free Marriage Equality Hotline: 1.888.503.6838 (Open weekdays 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

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