Texas could hire “contractors” to give out gay-marriage licenses in the event of religious objection

Apr 19, 2017

Credit Fibonacci Blue / Wikimedia Commons

The Texas Senate has approved a bill that would allow government clerks to refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, on religious grounds. The measure now moves to the House for a vote.

But, as Slate reports, the bill has an interesting provision that hasn’t been seen in other efforts by the Texas Senate to legislate same-sex marriage licenses.

The new bill would allow county courts to hire random contractors to give out the gay-marriage licenses. This way, the same-sex couples acquire their licenses, but the religious clerks don’t have to actively participate in something that challenges their religious beliefs.

These contracted laborers—essentially freelance workers—would be hired with taxpayer money to perform a single job: issue licenses to couples who are rejected by clerks. The hired worker could be almost anyone, even someone outside the county, and the work could even be performed over the phone.