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Judge throws out lawsuit from Justice of the Peace who denied same-sex weddings

Posted at 11:05 PM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 00:05:20-04

A lawsuit filed by McLennan County Justice of the Peace Dianne Hensley, who refused to marry same-sex couples was thrown out this week by Judge Jan Soifer of Austin’s 459th State District Court in Travis County.

In December of 2019 the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a warning to Judge Hensley for her actions.

Which she then filed a lawsuit against, claiming it violated her beliefs and citing the religious freedom restoration act.

The findings in the warning said that all same-sex couples that wanted to be married by Hensley received a document that said, "I'm sorry, but Judge Hensley has a sincerely held religious belief as a Christian, and will not be able to perform same-sex weddings."

Hensley released this statement in 2019 regarding the lawsuit saying:

"I sought a solution so that anyone in McLennan County who wants to get married can do so. I have, do, and always will follow the law."

"Judge Hensley says she's a bible believing christian but the bible that I know about Jesus served everyone," said LGBTQ+ Pastor Charley Garrison with Central Texas Metropolitan Community Church.

Garrison considers the dismissal a small victory for the LGBTQ+ community, he says there's still a long way to go when it comes to equal rights.

"It raises great concern for me, if she can't put aside her biases and prejudice for something like this, then I don't think that she should be in the position to be a judge," said Garrison. "My message to the community is to keep on keeping on. We can't let something like this stop us, there's always going to be setbacks and that means we need to dig in our heals and keep on striving for justice."

Garrison says he's married hundred of same-sex couples at MCC like Brandy Springer and her wife who are sad to hear Judge Hensley had denied wedding LGBTQ+ couples.

"Love is love and at the end of the day we're all going to stick by each other, and we're going to out-do the hate," said Springer. "To me it's hate, to turn people away and judge people and I pray that she will just open up and treat people with love. Regardless."

Prior to the warning, Judge Hensley was redirecting same sex couples to other judges who were willing to perform LGBTQ+ weddings.

25 News did reach out to Hensley but have not heard back.