Chalk up another court room appearance by beleaguered anti-gay Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton as he has been ordered to appear in court next week on possible contempt of court charges.
The order comes via U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia regarding a request from former Conroe police officer John Stone-Hoskins, whose request to have his deceased husband’s death certificate amended to reflect his married status at time of death has been refused by the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.
Garcia has ordered the state to amend the death certificate of James Stone-Hoskins showing John to be his surviving spouse. The state has thus far refused.
From San Antonio Express-News:
“The purpose of this hearing is to determine whether Defendants should be held in contempt for disobedience of this Court’s July 7, 2015 order, permanently enjoining Defendants from enforcing any Texas’s laws that prohibit or fail to recognize same-sex marriage,” Orlando said.
Neel Lane, one of the lawyers representing John Stone-Hoskins, said Texas officials did not agree that the ruling was retroactive.
“They (Texas officials) are not agreeing that it applies retroactively,” Lane said. “They want the court to decide it. To me, it already has and the Constitution is clear. They’re denying him his constitutional rights.
“If he were ‘Jane,’ the certificate would be changed as a matter of course,” Lane added. “The only reason they are doing this is because he’s ‘John.’”
In February 2014, Garcia issued a ruling in a lawsuit filed by other gay couples that said Texas’ refusal to recognize same-sex couples’ out-of-state marriages is illegal.
James and John, of Conroe, had been together for 10 years before a wedding in New Mexico in 2014, where it is legal. James Stone-Hoskins died in January 2015. At the time, the state listed him as being single on his death certificate, refusing to recognize the marriage because Texas’ ban on gay marriage was still in effect.
Since the Supreme Court ruling, John Stone-Hoskins has made a series of requests to change the death certificate.
John Stone-Hoskins wants the change immediately because he has been diagnosed with cancer and has been told he may die within 45 to 60 days.