The Commission on Judicial Conduct has reprimanded Waco, TX Judge Dianne Hensley for her conduct in regard to officiating same-sex marriage ceremonies.
But it’s not what you think.
While it’s true that Judge Hensley’s deeply-held religious convictions prevent her from conducting same-sex ceremonies, Judge Hensley actually went out of her way to accommodate same-sex couples by establishing a low-cost, convenient option just blocks away from her own Courthouse office in McLennan County – even going so far as offering to pay any difference in cost for the same-sex couples she was referring.
Judge Hensley even has several staff members in her office who are authorized to perform marriages. So, for the same cost, the same timeframe and the same convenience everybody should be happy, right? In fact, all did seem happy. Not one couple ever complained to the Commission on Judicial Conduct.
Now, however, The Commission has decided to step in and pop the big questions of their own. Not about the law, but about the Judge’s personal religious beliefs.
It appears they may have already found Judge Hensley “guilty”…and deserves no right to due process. Forget the fact that in Texas, a judge is not even required to perform weddings. And, that State law prohibits a judge from discriminating on the basis of race if they do. Other than that, there is no other legal guideline on the issue.
In fact, no one has complained about her referral system. Not one.
“Everyone who comes to my office to get married is served.”
Unlike many other Justices of the Peace in Texas, Judge Hensley went out of her way to provide same-sex couples with ample accommodations so that they could move forward with their plans with as little inconvenience as possible, out of respect for all parties involved.
Again, no one who has actually interacted with her has ever complained. This includes many individuals with differing views of the issue.
According to her good friend Michael: “We come from totally different backgrounds, different lives, and different views on politics. But Dianne was always warm, welcoming, and respectful. I didn’t get married in her court, because I respect her choice—and I would never feel like she was hostile. Her accommodations were perfectly reasonable.”
Watch Michael and Judge Hensley talk about their “respectful differences.”
Right now, the answer is a resounding no. No one should be forced to defend their personal religious beliefs before the State or any government body. The Constitution makes this very clear. Yet unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s happening to Judge Hensley.
Watch as First Liberty’s lead attorney on the case, Jeremy Dys, explains why Judge Hensley is perfectly within her rights to provide a solution for the citizens of Waco that satisfies both their wishes and her religious convictions.