FLYNN: Religious Beliefs Should Give County Clerks Right to Decline Marriage Ceremonies

Bill requires referral to another official willing to conduct ceremony

By State Rep. Dan Flynn

Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas — The House of Representatives received our Committee Assignments from Speaker Joe Straus last week, and I am proud to continue serving as Chairman of the House Pensions Committee, and to serve on the Defense & Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Through my service on these committees, as well as the other pieces of legislation I have authored, I will continue as always to promote Faith, Family & Freedom in the 85th Legislature.

Summary of House Bill 1813

I have filed HB 1813 to honor and enforce the ability that Texans have to exercise religious freedom within this state and country. This bill will enforce these freedoms in giving both certified officials and county clerks the right to decline to conduct a marriage ceremony if that ceremony impedes on their religious beliefs.

The bill defines a certified official as someone other than a county clerk who may or may not work for the county that is authorized to certify and complete a marriage application. If either a certified official or a county clerk gives notice of their refusal to conduct a marriage ceremony, the bill states they must also give a referral of another certified official who is willing and able to take their place.

Additionally, the referred official can be either within or outside of the county.

Our country was built on the grounds of religious freedom, among others, and it is my goal to continue ensuring that our state legislature ensures that those freedoms be upheld. I believe this bill will honor that goal, and I look forward to receiving your thoughts on the issue. I encourage you to read the bill for yourself, and you can find a copy of the text here.

Floor Update

On Monday and Tuesday, the first set of selected bills were assigned to committees for their first reading. Nine of the bills I have filed have been referred to a committee. Below is a list of all my bills with their respective committee assignments:

HB 43 Relating to the public retirement systems of certain municipalities referred to Pensions
• HB 45 Relating to the application of foreign laws and foreign forum selection in this state referred to Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence
• HB 56 Relating to the carrying of a handgun by a first responder engaged in the actual discharge of the first responder’s duties referred to Homeland Security & Public
• HB 57 Relating to the regulation of raw milk and raw milk products referred to Public Health
• HB 74 Relating to the Texas Balance of Powers Act referred to State and Federal Power & Responsibility
• HB 75 Relating to the education and examination requirements for pharmacy technicians referred to Public Health
• HB 83 Relating to a fee waiver for a combination resident hunting and fishing license for certain military personnel referred to Culture, Recreation & Tourism
• HB 95 Relating to daylight saving time referred to Government Transparency and Operation
• HB 206 Relating to the Texas Veterans Land Board referred to Defense and Veterans’ Affairs

Check out My Texas Legislature Online to keep track of all legislation going through both the House and Senate. You can search for bills by number, keyword, or author name. I want to encourage you to stay informed during this legislative session so you can be equipped to speak up about things that matter to you.

It remains my pleasure and honor to represent all the people of House District 2. My staff and I continue to welcome your input and your questions. You can contact our office by calling 512-463-0880.

May God continue to bless you, and the Great State of Texas!

Dan Flynn represents Texas House District 2 in the Texas House of Representatives. He serves as Chairman of the House Pensions Committee, and also serves on the Defense & Veterans’ Affairs Committee. An active member of the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), he currently chairs the NCSL’s Budget & Revenue Committee.

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