This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
A Texas judge has sued the state's Commission on Judicial Conduct over the panel's decision to threaten her for adhering to her Christian beliefs in decisions regarding weddings.
And the legal experts at William J. Olson P.C., have filed a friend-of-the-court brief explaining the commission's actions amounted to an unconstitutional religious test for office.
The case involving Dianne Hensley now is pending before the state Supreme Court.
The situation is that Hensley is a justice of the peace in McLennan County and as such, is given the option by state law to perform weddings or not. Before the U.S. Supreme Court created, in a decision described as unconnected to the Constitution, the status of same-sex "marriage" for the nation she routinely performed ceremonies.
After, because of her Christian beliefs, she would perform ceremonies for man and woman couples, and would refer same-sex duos to others to perform ceremonies.
No complaints were filed about her accommodations, but the commission read about her practice in a news article and launched its own investigation, ultimately issuing her a "Public Warning" and threatening her if she continued, so she has stopped performing weddings entirely.
Her lawsuit charges the commission with violating the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Texas Constitution's Bill of Rights and seeks declaratory relief and compensatory damages.
The new brief, filed on behalf of the Public Advocate of the United States, America's Future, LONANG Institute, U.S. Constitutional Rights Legal Defense Fund, and the Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, charges the commission is "hostile to all religious judges."
"As a result of the unconstitutional religious test imposed by the commission, all judges with traditional Bible-based beliefs against their participation in same-sex weddings are branded as bigots by the commission," the brief charges.
"This false label of bigotry would apply to many judges and judicial candidates of Muslim or Orthodox Jewish beliefs in addition to Bible-based Christian beliefs.
"This court must reverse the commission and the lower courts who allowed this hostility to stand, and set forth a public policy for this state which protects the religious liberty and dignity of judges."
It argues, "The reality is that the commission is proceeding against Judge Hensley based on its inference from her approach to conducting marriages, grounded in her sincerely held religious views, that she is a hateful, bigoted person who would be incapable of ruling impartially on matters before her."
In essence, the commission is expressing an intolerance for Christian beliefs far harsher than Hensley's inability to support same-sex "marriage," which the Bible defines as sin.
The brief points out, "It is the commission's actions against her which demonstrate a shocking level of bigotry against not only Bible-believing Christians but also those of other faith traditions who oppose same-sex marriage, including, inter alia, many Orthodox Jews and Muslims. Logically, it must be the commission's view that only an atheist, an agnostic, a person associated with a church that has abandoned its historical traditional teachings, or a person whose faith in no way influences his behavior, is qualified to serve as a judge in Texas."
In short, the brief explains it is the commission's "hostility" to Bible-based religious beliefs that violates the state constitution.
The case is seeking a summary judgment on behalf of Hensley.