DENTON COUNTY (CBS SF) — A Texas judge believes he may have found a clever way to wed gay couples without sacrificing his anti same-sex marriage stance.
Denton County Judge James DePiazza posted a form on his website this month declaring that he will “witness” same-sex weddings, so long as the couple acknowledges his extreme disapproval of the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor marriage equality.
In the form he states, “The result of this ruling has not changed Judge DePiazza’s personal convictions on marriage, but has changed the way he is now conducting ceremonies. Judge DePiazza will conduct a brief formal declaration of civil marriage ceremony.”
He goes on to say that ceremony appointments will not be scheduled without signatures from the couple acknowledging that “Judge DePiazza’s prefers to not address the topic of same-sex marriages at our scheduled appointment. This time is for our ceremony only.”
The Republican judge said if his agreement is broken, the wedding will be stopped and the couple will receive a refund.
“It’s my personal belief that individuals who want to conduct a marriage ceremony understand my convictions,” DePiazza told WFAA-TV. “If it was me, I would prefer to have someone who was in agreement with me.”
Judges in Texas are required to marry all couples, gay or straight, or stop officiating ceremonies all together.
However, DiPiazza’s new marriage policy could be unconstitutional since it forces those who qualify for a particular public benefit to accept an insult in order to receive it.
“Even for a heterosexual couple that’s getting married and [DePiazza’s] not opposed to their marriage, the only way they can get married is to acknowledge that he doesn’t want to marry gay people,” Columbia University Law School professor Katherine Franke told the Texas Observer. “I could see straight people being offended.”