Gay Texas Judge Refuses to Marry Straight Couples

No marriages until all can marry, says Tonya Parker
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2012 12:38 AM CST
Updated Feb 24, 2012 4:00 AM CST
Gay Texas Judge Refuses to Marry Straights
Parker is believed to be the first gay African-American ever to hold elected office in Texas.   (Dallas County)

Dallas judge Tonya Parker says she won't be conducting any marriage ceremonies until she and every other gay person in Texas have the same right to marry. When she turns straight couples away, Parker tells them: "I’m sorry. I don’t perform marriage ceremonies because we are in a state that does not have marriage equality, and until it does, I am not going to partially apply the law to one group of people that doesn’t apply to another group of people." Parker passes the ceremonies on to other judges so the straights can get married.

"It’s kind of oxymoronic for me to perform ceremonies that can’t be performed for me, so I’m not going to do it," Parker tells the Dallas Voice. The Texas Committee on Judicial Ethics describes officiating at weddings as a "discretionary function” that must not interfere with “mandatory judicial duties," so Parker—who was elected in 2010 to preside over Dallas’ 116th Civil District Court—can't be accused of shirking her duties, notes the Dallas Morning News. (Read more Tonya Parker stories.)

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