A U.S. judge ordered Texas officials on Wednesday to recognize the surviving spouse in a same-sex marriage on a state death certificate whose husband died earlier this year.
Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to raise the ban on same-sex marriage in June, making gay marriage legal across the nation, according o Reuters.
The Republican state of Texas is known for its leaders that tried to reject gay marriage. The state recoiled at recognizing John Stone-Hoskins as the surviving spouse on a death certificate for James Stone-Hoskins.
U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia in San Antonio has ordered that the defendants including the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton as well as the state’s health commissioner to appear in court next week. He is considering whether or not they should all be held in contempt.
John and James Stone-Hoskins were lawfully married in New Mexico in August of last year. James died in January 2015. Texas has now refused though to acknowledge John as the surviving spouse. John is pushing Texas to change their decision in respect of gay marriage now being legal in every state.
Texas has refused to fill in the space on the death certificate. On Wednesday, he filed a lawsuit in federal court. This is what prompted the judge’s order.
The defendants were named as Republican Governor Greg Abbott, Paxton, a county clerk and the acting health commissioner.
“Although John has made numerous attempts to have James’s death certificate corrected to reflect John as James’s surviving spouse, Defendants refuse to make this correction – thus refusing to recognize John and James’s marriage,” the lawsuit said.
The attorney for Stone-Hoskins, Neel Lane, said that Texas official refused to put John’s name on the death certificate because at the time his spouse died, Texas was aggressively denying all same-sex couples the right to marry as the federal ruling had not come about yet.
“The only reason that he was denied that is because the state was intent on depriving him of his constitutional right,” he said.