Bill Metzger, a Justice of the Peace in Dallas County, Texas, announced on Feb. 3 that he will only be conducting "traditional marriages," per his Catholic faith (video below).
Metzger wrote on his Facebook page: "As I said back in June of last year, because of my faith in God as a devout Catholic I will be only be conducting traditional marriages. Recently, I have been asked about my beliefs and stance on traditional marriage."
Metzger continued by citing a passage from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s nonbinding legal opinion on the Supreme Court's ruling to legalize same-sex marriages, which said: "Justices of the peace retain religious freedoms, and may claim that the government cannot force them to conduct same-sex wedding ceremonies over their religious objections."
Justices of the peace in Texas are not required to officiate weddings, but discriminating against same-sex couples is not legal, according to several observers.
“He's not on solid legal footing either by the laws of the state of Texas or the Constitution,” retired Dallas County district judge, John Cruezot, told WFAA.
“If I do marriages, I either do none or all,” Cruezot added. “It’s a bad signal to be a judge, even if it is a justice of the peace, and then make an independent decision that you’re going to follow the law for some folks, but not for others.”
Metzger did not comment to WFAA despite numerous attempts.
“Dallas County taxpayers should not have to provide them with a free lawyer when they get sued, and that still doesn’t take care of the concern that they may get the county sued,” Dallas County Judge, Clay Jenkins, told The Dallas Morning News.
Carol Donovan, Dallas County Democratic Party Chairwoman, said in the written statement: “By refusing to officiate same-sex marriages, Judge Bill Metzger is not only violating federal law, as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court, but he is also violating his Oath of Office. Therefore, he must resign."
The Texas Justice Court Training Center, a program providing required education for justices of the peace, wrote on its website: “We are unable to identify any current legal authority which would permit a justice of the peace to take such action."