Texas AG No Longer Faces Contempt Hearing Over Gay Rights

A lawyer says Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton no longer faces a contempt of court hearing after the state agreed to update vital record policies for same-sex couples.

The cancellation Monday means that Paxton must no longer appear before a federal judge and possibly be held in contempt over whether Texas has impeded gay rights since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage earlier this summer.

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ordered Paxton to his courtroom last week after a gay Houston man said the state refused to amend the death certificate of his late husband. Neel Lane, an attorney for the surviving husband, said the agreement should spare other Texas same-sex couples from similar hurdles.

Paxton had been fighting the order to personally appear in court.

In a statement released Monday, the plaintiff's attorney said:

"We are delighted that same sex couples will be treated the same as everyone else when it comes to issuing amended death certificates and birth certificates, and they won't have to file a lawsuit for their lawful marriages to be recognized. All John asked for was an amended death certificate that showed he was his late husband James' surviving spouse. What he secured was the promise that all same sex couples would be treated with dignity and respect when it comes to major events of that shape a marriage, births and deaths."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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