On June 30, 2015, after vehemently declaring that it was her right to retain her religious freedom not to issue marriage licenses to LGBT couples, Hood County, Texas county clerk Katie Lang backed down after a federal lawsuit was filed.
According to WFAA, Ms. Lang stated that she would not be issuing licenses herself, but others in her department would be available to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, so her actions would not deny their, now federally recognized, civil rights. “You can go other places and get a marriage license,” she said, “so it’s not that I’m restricting anyone from getting a marriage license.” In a statement on her website, she says that although her office will issue licenses, she will not participate due to her religious convictions.
After 11 days, much social media attention, and the filing of a federal lawsuit, Jim Cato and Joe Stapleton of Grandbury, Texas have been issued a marriage license. Their attorney, Jan Soifer, stated,
It’s a shame that they needed to hire lawyers and file a lawsuit to make that happen… The license was issued this morning, a few hours after the lawsuit was filed, in handwriting on the existing license form, which proves that County Clerk Lang easily could have complied with the law without waiting ten days…
She went on to say that the lawsuit will not be dropped unless there is an agreement from Clerk Lang that her office will grant marriage licenses to every couple, gay and straight, with no delays, and pay Jim and Joe’s attorneys’ fees.
Ms. Lang, in a short interview with the Dallas Morning News, says her statements have been have been misconstrued and misreported, and she will continue to ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling, supported by Texas State Attorney General, Ken Paxton, until a court says she must do otherwise.