For Immediate Release: 10.25.23
Contact: Peyton Drew, firstname.lastname@example.org
Judge Facing Religious Discrimination Makes Case to Texas Supreme Court
Attorneys argue that Judge Dianne Hensley acted in full compliance with the law when recusing herself from conducting same-sex weddings.
Austin, TX—Attorneys from Mitchell Law LLP and First Liberty Institute argued before the Texas Supreme Court today on behalf of Judge Dianne Hensley, who received a reprimand from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct for recusing herself from performing same-sex weddings.
“Judge Hensley has been adhering to the law and the legal guidance provided by the Attorney General of Texas,” said Hiram Sasser, Executive General Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “Her way of reconciling her religious beliefs while meeting the needs of her community is not just legal but should be a model for public officials across Texas.”
To ensure all residents of McLennan County have access to low-cost wedding ceremonies, at her own expense, Judge Hensley invested extensive time and resources to compile a referral list of alternative, local wedding officiants. The list included one within walking distance of her office who agreed to reduce the cost of the wedding to the same amount Judge Hensley received and who would do same-sex weddings within the same timeframe as Judge Hensley. Her innovative referral solution provided wedding options after many public officials ceased from officiating any and all weddings. According to Texas law, judges are not required to officiate weddings, but Judge Hensley sought to ensure that those in McLennan County seeking to be married were accommodated, regardless of their sexual orientation. Despite her efforts and no complaints from the public, the State Commission issued a “Public Warning” sanctioning her for the referral solution and accused her of violating certain canons of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct.
About First Liberty Institute
First Liberty Institute is a non-profit public interest law firm and the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.