Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton took his anti-gay animus to CNN on Wednesday, questioning whether the state will follow a Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage.
And to put a finer point on his opposition to marriage equality, Paxton told CNN “New Day” host Alisyn Camerota that House Bill 4105 – a measure that would defy a potential high court ruling in favor of gay marriage – is just carrying out the will of the people. Polls be damned. And nevermind the money.
But the most stunning, shocking, and disturbing moment in Paxton's interview comes when he is asked, “Texas would have to conform to the federal law, yes?”
“If the Supreme Court is making the ruling on marriage, we deal with that all the time,” Paxton responds.
Camerota pauses, wholly unsure what Paxton's comment means.
“Meaning what?,” she asks.
Literally silence from Paxton, for almost two seconds.
Camerota pushes, trying to get an answer.
“Meaning Texas would have to conform to the Supreme Court,” she says, assuming he will agree.
“Again, we would have to see how it worked,” Paxton, shockingly says. “We would have to see exactly how that opinion is written, versus how this law is passed.”
The impact of HB 4105, a bill from state Rep. Cecil Bell expected to see a House vote before a Thursday deadline, would be severe.
The bill would bar state and local employees from issuing, enforcing or recognizing same-sex marriage licenses—and prohibit public monies from being used to do so—regardless of any court order.
LGBT advocates say if the high court rules in favor of same-sex marriage, HB 4105 would set up a showdown between state and federal law, costing Texas millions of dollars in litigation and potentially delaying the effectiveness of the decision by years. They say the bill would unleash chaos similar to what’s been seen in Alabama over same-sex marriage, and generate the type of business backlash associated with passage of an anti-LGBT religious freedom law in Indiana.
The threat of the bill sent LGBT groups into overdrive. Equality Texas called the legislation “mean-spirited.”
HB 4105 is mean-spirited, ill-advised, and puts Texas on a collision course with a potential Supreme Court ruling on marriage. Texas lawmakers appear determined to repeat the same mistakes of Indiana and Arkansas by passing a bill that makes Texas look intolerant and unwelcoming.
And HRC said the legislation would prompt a “national condemnation” of Texas.
This irresponsible and mean-spirited bill doesn’t just put Texas on a collision course with a potential Supreme Court ruling. It would also bring national condemnation like we’ve seen in Indiana and Arkansas by attempting to lock in discrimination against same-sex couples who simply want to make a lifetime commitment.