Republican lawmakers in the Texas state Senate have approved a bill which would allow judges and elected officials to opt-out of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on personal religious objections.
The bill passed an early vote by 21-10 with only one Democrat voting for the legislation. A final Senate vote should come later today, and then the bill heads over to the state House.
From NBC News:
Texas' Republican-controlled Legislature only meets every two years, meaning state lawmakers weren't able to respond to the high court's June 2015 gay marriage decision until now. Should the bill become law, however, it will almost certainly be challenged as unconstitutional by federal lawsuits.
Opponents say it sanctions discrimination and defies the nation's highest court.
"The Texas Senate today said it has no problem with public officials picking and choosing which taxpayers they will serve," Kathy Miller, president of the progressive activist group the Texas Freedom Network, said in a statement. "This bill opens the door to taxpayer-funded discrimination against virtually anyone who doesn't meet a public official's personal moral standards."
Similar bills in other states have not withstood legal challenges.