A bill allowing county judges and other officials to refuse to issue licenses for same-sex marriages because of religious objections is headed to the full Texas Senate.
Sen. Brian Birdwell's proposal only applies in cases where other officials without any objection can step in and issue marriage documents.
If the substituting official is located outside the county where the marriage license is being sought, the bill allows for documents to be sent electronically.
The measure has cleared the Senate State Affairs Committee, but when it will be heard on the chamber floor is unclear.
Progressive groups say it sanctions discrimination. Birdwell, a Granbury Republican, counters that he's seeking to protect the religious liberties of county clerks, justices of the peace and other officials - many of whom are locally elected.