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Lawsuit claims Judge Hensley 'wrongly punished' for refusing to perform same-sex marriages

Posted at 8:59 AM, Dec 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-17 20:40:56-05

MCLENNAN COUNTY, TEXAS — A lawsuit has been filed against the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct alleging that Justice of the Peace Dianne Hensley was wrongly punished for refusing to perform same sex-marriages.

In the lawsuit filed by First Liberty Institute on behalf of Judge Hensley and McLennan County, they claim the Texas Commission of Judicial Conduct was in violation of the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act when they issued a "Public Warning" to Judge Hensley.

Judge Dianne Hensley and First Liberty Institute's Jeremy Dys held a press conference Tuesday, December 17 at 2 p.m., at the McLennan County Courthouse to discuss the case.

"She has a right to be able to voice her religious beliefs and to be able to live her life according to those beliefs," says Dys.

In a release, First Liberty said Hensley made arrangements for other vendors to facilitate weddings that she chose not to perform, for religious reasons or because of her schedule.

"No one complained about it. It worked out well. Everyone who wanted to get married was able to get married and that was just fine with everybody who was just here," said Dys.

Hensley is suing to recover damages, costs and attorneys' fees as authorized by the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act. She said that she developed a list of other options for those wanting to get married and wanted a low cost wedding.

"If you're not going to officiate a same-sex marriage because of your religious beliefs, you have to stop all of them. I'm sure she's married individuals who are divorced, who had kids out of wedlock, who had premarital sex, you cannot pick and choose which principles of your religion you want to believe in. It's either you're fully religious, or you don't cherry pick what you think is right and not right," said a man that was redirected by Judge Hensley when he and his now husband wanted their marriage certificate signed.

First Liberty said there has been no official complaints filed against Hensley.

She will not be performing marriages while this lawsuit is in progress.

Full lawsuit: