Justices of the Peace Consider Religious Reservations For Performing Same Sex Weddings
A Brazos County Justice of the Peace is addressing rumors that he would charge more money to perform weddings for same sex couples.
Mike McCleary tells us the speculation spread after a joke was shared in his office.
News 3 looked into that as well as how several Brazos County Justices of the Peace are reconciling their religious beliefs with the recent Supreme Court ruling.
Brazos County Justice of the Peace Mike McCleary says he hasn't made his mind up yet on whether he'll marry people of the same gender.
While he didn't want to speak on camera, he met with News 3 for more than an hour Friday morning, saying his beliefs as a Christian look at marriage from a traditional perspective.
Rumors have been going around that McCleary was set to charge $5,000 to preside over same sex
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weddings versus just a few hundred dollars for a heterosexual couple.
McCleary says he had shown a $5000 fee print out around his office as a joke, but that he wouldn't charge that much if he does choose to perform the weddings.
"When the Supreme Court ruling came out I did consult with family
and friends," said Brazos County Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Rick Hill.
Hill says he's conflicted as well based on his Christian beliefs.
"Justice of the Peace's are allowed to do weddings. It's not a duty, we are allowed to do weddings and so therefore to reconcile my religious beliefs with the fact that I took an oath of office to serve the citizens of Brazos County I'm choosing at this point to not do weddings," Hill said.
In his six months as a J.P., Rick Hill tells us he's presided over about 20 weddings so far and he has four more to fulfill before he stops completely.
"All four of us have talked over the last couple of weeks and again we're all reconciling our religious beliefs with our duty to our office and to the citizens of Brazos County and so for me I think it would be wrong for individuals to do some weddings and to not do others based on that," said Hill.
Justice of the Peace Tommy Munoz says he also has religious reservations but has already married one same sex couple
and doesn't want to discriminate.
We also reached out to Precinct 4 J.P. Louis Garcia for comment but have not heard back.
Rick Hill tells us the fees for getting married between each of the precincts are all pretty similar.
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