When Jim Cato and Joe Stapleton went to their local courthouse in Granbury, Texas, to get married last week, Hood County Clerk Katie Lang (not to be confused with lesbian singer-songwriter K.D. Lang) turned them away, citing religious objections.
Then she called the police to try and have the men removed from the building. What followed was a showdown between antigay activists and supporters of
marriage equality the law of the land.
On Thursday, dozens of “religious freedom” activists held a protest outside of the courthouse where they waves signs that read “Impeach Supreme Court” and “Protect Religious Freedom” and demanding “the biblical understanding of marriage.”
“Government should not be able to punish people because of their religious faith,” Jonathan Saenz, president of Austin-based Texas Values, which opposes same-sex marriage, preached to the crowd. “We will not be silent! We will continue to stand for God and country! We are here to support Katie Lang!”
On the other side of the courthouse lawn, supporters of Cado and Stapleton held their own protest.
“We live in Granbury,” Cato told press. “We pay our taxes in Granbury. We do not feel like we have to travel somewhere else for our marriage license. We will stick it out here until we get our license in Granbury.”
And stick it out they did. On Monday, Cato and Stapleton filed a federal lawsuit against Lang for denying them their legal right to a marriage license. Knowing she had no legal ground to stand on, the clerk’s office caved, citing “software issues” for Lang’s initial refusal to perform her job.
“Jim Cato and Joe Stapleton are delighted that they finally have been issued a marriage license and can get married in their home county,” their attorneys, Jan Soifer and Austin Kaplan, said in a statement this week. “It’s a shame that they needed to hire lawyers and file a lawsuit to make that happen.”
Lang has since vowed that she will “personally refrain” from issuing licenses, but said that others in the office could do so once “the appropriate forms have been printed and supplied to my office.”
Perhaps she’d be better off looking for a new line of work. Just sayin’.
h/t: The Huffington Post