Correction: This post initially stated that Judge Tonya Parker was “no longer” marrying straight couples. Judge Parker has never performed such marriage ceremonies. This version has been corrected.
Catholic priests have refused to marry same-sex couples for years.
Judge Tonya Parker of Dallas County told the Dallas Voice that she respectfully tells couples why she can’t conduct their marriage ceremony:
“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.”
The Lone Star state judge also points out that she is not required by law to perform marriages, as it was considered a “discretionary function” that is not to interfere with “mandatory judicial duties.”
Parker is the first openly lesbian African American elected official in the state of Texas, where same-sex marriage is illegal.
Earlier this week in San Antonio, a Presbyterian minister was censured for performing same-sex marriages in California while it was legal to do so, PressDemocrat.com reports. The Rev. Jane Spahr says she performed the marriages as a matter of conscience. After hearing the church’s decision, she tweeted:
I want you to know I am sad but not discouraged. I am sad for our wonderful couples to hear the no again when God’s yes is so clear.— Jane Spahr (@revjanespahr) February 22, 2012
But much of Texas feels otherwise. At a recent political debate, GOP Senate candidate Craig James responded to his opponent’s comment about marching in gay pride parades by saying being gay was “a choice” and that gay couples “are going to have to answer to the Lord for their actions,” USA Today reports.