Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton suggested on Wednesday that a bill that would prevent county clerks from issuing or recognizing same-sex marriage licenses was reaffirming the will of the voters of the state.
“We passed a constitutional amendment [banning same-sex marriage] in 2005, it was overwhelmingly approved by the voters,” Paxton told CNN host Alisyn Camerota. “That’s our background here.”
Camerota noted that as recently as two years ago, polls showed that support for marriage equality in Texas was evenly split.
“If Texas follows national trend lines, we’ve seen support tick up for same-sex marriage,” she pointed out. “So, why pass a law that would apply to everyone?”
Paxton, however, argued that the “real poll” happened on election day.
“My job as attorney general and the job of the Legislature is to really follow the will of the people and enforce the laws that we have,” he remarked. “This is both in statute and in our constitution. So, that’s my job, and that’s the job of the Legislature.”
But the attorney general was not willing to say that the state would follow the Supreme Court if it decided to rule in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage later this year.
“Aren’t you saying that the gays and lesbians in your state are not as valued at heterosexuals because they can’t form into a union?” Camerota asked.
“All the Legislature has done in the past is try to reflect the values that have been in this state and this country for over two centuries,” Paxton insisted.
“What about homosexuals who fall in love? What should they do?” the CNN host pressed.
“They have — they can do whatever they want,” Paxton shrugged. “But the reality itself right now in Texas was defined by the people of Texas overwhelmingly as between a man and a woman. And that’s the law of Texas, it’s in our constitution, it’s in our statutes.”
“I mean, they can’t really do whatever they want as you’ve just said,” Camerota shot back. “Do you understand why gays in Texas would feel that is discriminating against them?”
“They can feel how they want,” Paxton replied. “The reality is the voters of Texas have passed the law as it is.”
Watch the video below from CNN’s New Day, broadcast May 13, 2015.