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Civil Rights Expert: Resistance To Implementing Supreme Court Rulings Isn't New

Flickr user Fibonacci Blue

The Supreme Court ruling that lifted state bans on gay marriage prompted a wave of same-sex couples at county offices.  They wanted to get their marriage licenses so they could finally tie the knot.

But in 61 Texas counties, clerks and judges refused to issue licenses. 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told them its public officials can refuse to issue the licenses if they oppose same-sex marriage for religious reasons.

One civil rights expert at the St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio says opposition to Supreme Court rulings is nothing new.

Prof. Al Kauffman cites the ongoing battle over the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

It took more than a decade for public schools to integrate following the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954.

Opponents organized to resist decisions that required all-male colleges to admit women, and to challenge the use of ethnicity in university admissions policies.

Prof. Kauffman cast the same-sex marriage ruling in a historical context during his conversation with Texas Public Radio’s Shelley Kofler.

He said court clerks who follow Attorney General Paxton’s opinion and refuse to issue the marriage licenses may face legal challenges they will lose.

Shelley Kofler is Texas Public Radio’s news director. She joined the San Antonio station in December 2014 and leads a growing staff that produces two weekly programs; a daily talk show, news features, reports and online content. Prior to TPR, Shelley served as the managing editor and news director at KERA in Dallas-Fort Worth, and the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.