“Every human being deserves respect.”
That quote from Denton County Judge James DePiazza in a telephone interview with The New Civil Rights Movement suggests he actually believes every human being deserves respect, which is why many are confused with why he is requiring all couples to sign a documentacknowledging his disapproval of same-sex marriages before he will agree to marry them.
Judge DePiazza has been a judge in Precinct 2 of Denton County for eight years, and he decided to issue the document to make sure couples would know how he felt about their marriages before he officiated them. At the same time, he wanted to make sure couples did not engage in a conversation or debate with him about his personal beliefs before, during, or after the ceremony.
“It’s to let them know where I stand,” he said according to the Houston Chronicle. “I would want to know that if I was getting married. There are some couples of the same sex who don’t want to be married by someone who doesn’t believe in same sex marriage.”
It seems like Judge DePiazza had given this a lot of thought and was trying to be fair while balancing his religious beliefs; however it’s hard to understand why people have to sign an acknowledgement of the judge’s personal beliefs before receiving a state approved marriage license.
The form couples are required to sign says the following:
“Judge DePiazza prefers to NOT conduct same-sex ceremonies, but will not decline anyone who chooses to schedule with him.”
Towards the bottom of the form, couples are required to sign the following statement:
“While we may not necessarily agree with, we acknowledge Judge DePiazza’s position that he prefers to not conduct same-sex marriages and agree to not address the topic of same-sex marriages with Judge DePiazza before, during or after the ceremony.”
“I don’t support same-sex marriages,” Judge DePiazza told NCRM in that phone interview last week, but he also followed it up by saying, “I won’t discriminate. Every human being deserves respect.” He wanted to make it clear that he is not required to perform marriages (gay or straight), and assured us that it wouldn’t be hard for same-sex couples to find an officiant since there are a great many who will officiate in Dallas County.
We’re curious to hear your thoughts. If a judge disapproves of same-sex marriage, should couples be required to sign a document acknowledging the disapproval of their marriage before getting married by that judge? Sound off in the comments section below.