Judge Against Gay Marriage Has Couples Sign Letter
James DePiazza says it's 'to let them know where I stand'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2015 7:15 PM CDT
A demonstrator waves a rainbow flag outside San Francisco's City Hall shortly before a Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California on June 26, 2013.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
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(Newser) – A judge who opposes same-sex marriage plans to keep performing civil ceremonies anyway—as long as couples acknowledge how he feels. "[I want] to let them know where I stand," Texas Judge James DePiazza, who is Catholic, tells the Houston Chronicle. "I would want to know that if I was getting married." So he plans to have couples getting married sign a document that states his position: "Judge DePiazza prefers to NOT conduct same-sex ceremonies, but will not decline anyone who chooses to schedule with him." The letter, which mentions the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling, also requires the couples "not to address the topic of same-sex marriages with Judge DePiazza before, during, or after the ceremony."

If a couple breaks DePiazza's rules, he plans to stop the ceremony and give them their money back, WFAA reports. But Columbia University law professor Katherine Franke says the letter is likely unconstitutional because it restricts speech in two ways: limiting what couples can say and requiring them to sign, the Dallas Observer reports. It also makes them stomach a possible insult in order to receive a public benefit, she says. But Glen Maxey, the first openly gay state legislator in Texas, has another take: "There are many, many, many other options to get married," he says. He organized some weddings in Austin this past weekend and says he told couples, "I have secular, non-secular, I've got five different Christians, I've got a rabbi, I've got a federal judge, I've got five JPs. Who do [you] want to marry you?"
 

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