Press Releases

State Supreme Court Sides With Judge Facing Religious Discrimination Over Marriage

June 28, 2024

News Release
 For Immediate Release: 6.28.24
Contact: John Manning,
Direct: 972-941-4453

State Supreme Court Sides With Judge Facing Religious Discrimination Over Marriage

Court determines that Judge Dianne Hensley may continue her legal battle for religious liberty.

Austin, TX—The Texas Supreme Court today ruled in favor of Judge Dianne Hensley, who received a reprimand from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct for not performing weddings that are inconsistent with her religious beliefs.  Attorneys from Mitchell Law LLP and First Liberty Institute represent Hensley.

You can read the court’s decision here, and the concurring opinion here.

“Judge Hensley’s way of reconciling her religious beliefs while meeting the needs of her community is not only legal but should stand as a model for public officials across Texas,” said Hiram Sasser, Executive General Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “This is a great victory for Judge Hensley and renews her opportunity to seek justice under the religious liberty protections of the law.  We appreciate that Justices Blacklock and Devine were willing to rule right now that what the Commission on Judicial Conduct did was unlawful religious discrimination. But we will continue this fight against religious discrimination as long as the Commission insists on their form of a religious test for public office.”

Judge Hensley said, “I am truly grateful to the Supreme Court for giving me the opportunity to continue to stand for religious liberty and the rule of law.”

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 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.
To arrange an interview, contact John Manning at or by calling 972-941-4453.

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