Hood County Clerk Katie Lang just cost the taxpayers in her county a bundle, all in the name of her expressing her “religious freedom.” Both Lang and Hood County were the subjects of a federal lawsuit filed by Joe Stapleton and Jim Cato, to whom Lang refused to issue a marriage license. The lawsuit was recently settled by Hood County, which will have to pay Stapleton’s and Cato’s legal fees, amounting to $43,872.10. The county commissioners voted to take this action “to save [Lang] from dealing with the additional expense and significant financial exposure her actions caused the taxpayers of her county.” This proves that a few elected officials in Hood County have some brain cells to rub together, or at least they put their duties as public servants over their own personal beliefs.
As stated by Pat O’Connell, one of the attorneys representing Stapleton and Cato:
And it is sad that the taxpayers of Hood County have to pay the price for their elected official’s misconduct.
Despite the settlement, Lang’s statement regarding her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples REMAINS on the county’s website. It reads, in part:
I am grateful that the First Amendment continues to protect the sincerely held religious beliefs of public servants like me. As Justice Kennedy stated, ‘it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.’
We wonder if the registered voters of Hood County will continue to support Ms. Lang when her next bid for re-election rolls around. Taxpayers don’t look too kindly on public servants wasting their tax dollars, especially for “personal” reasons.
Featured image courtesy of star-telegram.com