WACO, Texas — The Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct has issued a public warning to a county judge in concluding that she is “casting doubt on her capacity to act impartially” by declining to officiate same-sex ceremonies.
“[T]he Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct has determined that the Honorable Judge Dianne Hensley, Justice of the Peace for Precinct 1, Place 1 in Waco, McLennan County, Texas, should be publicly warned for casting doubt on her capacity to act impartially to persons appearing before her as a judge due to the person’s sexual orientation in violation of Canon 4A(l) of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct,” the document, issued on Nov. 12 and made public on Dec. 9, reads.
The public warning generally pointed a 2017 article by the Waco Tribune entitled “No Courthouse Weddings in Waco for Same-Sex Couples 2 Years After Supreme Court Ruling.”
“She said that as a ‘Bible-believing’ Christian, her conscience … prohibits her from doing same-sex weddings, and she thinks she is entitled to a ‘religious exemption,'” the article stated. “She said that on a couple of occasions, her office has told same-sex couples that the judge was not available and gave them a list of locals who would officiate a same-sex wedding …”
The Commission on Judicial Conduct likewise noted that as of August 2016, Hensley’s office gave those who desired same-sex services a document that read, “I’m sorry, but Judge Hensley has a sincerely held religious belief as a Christian, and will not be able to perform any same sex weddings.” The document featured a list of other entities who would be able to assist in her place.
This past summer, the Commission advised Hensley that it was concerned about her statements and practice. She supplied a written response and also appeared before the Commission in August with an attorney.
“At her appearance before the Commission, Judge Hensley testified that she would recuse herself from a case in which a party doubted her impartiality on the basis that she publicly refuses to perform same-sex weddings,” the warning document outlines.
However, the Commission pointed to Texas Code of Judicial Conduct, which states, “A judge shall conduct all of the judge’s extra-judicial activities so that they do not cast reasonable doubt on the judge’s capacity to act impartially as a judge …”
Consequently, the Commission decided that a public warning to Hensley was warranted. According to the Houston Chronicle, a public warning is one of the highest disciplinary measures to be taken by the judicial oversight entity.
She has 30 days to file an appeal.
“I sought a solution so that anyone in McLennan County who wants to get married can get married,” Hensley told the Houston Chronicle. “I have, do, and always will, follow the law.”
Read the public warning from the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct in full here.
As previously reported, the Bible teaches that all men are in the exact same predicament: All inherit the sin nature of Adam and are “by nature, the children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3, Colossians 3:6) and the enemies of God (Romans 5:10, Colossians 1:21), having various inherent inclinations that are contrary to the law and will of God and being utterly incapable of changing by themselves (Job 14:4).
It is why Jesus came: to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21) and that they might be “saved from wrath through Him” (Romans 5:9) — taking out of the way for those who are saved both the penalty for, and the power of, sin.
Jesus outlined in John 3:5-7 that men must be regenerated by the second birth, and be transformed from being in Adam to being in Christ, or they cannot see the kingdom of Heaven. This work of the Holy Spirit is known in Christianity as the doctrine of regeneration.
The late Anglican preacher J.C. Ryle once explained of the evidence of regeneration, “I do say that in the matter of breaking God’s commandments, everyone that is born again is quite a new man. He no longer takes a light and cool and easy view of sin; he no longer judges of it with the world’s judgment.”
“He no longer thinks a little swearing, or a little Sabbath-breaking, or a little fornication, or a little drinking, or a little covetousness small and trifling matters, but he looks on every sort of sin against God or man as exceeding abominable and damnable in the Lord’s sight, and, as far as in him lies, he hates it and abhors it, and desires to be rid of it root and branch, with his whole heart and mind and soul and strength.”
“As for his daily conduct, he allows himself in no known sin; he makes no compromise with his old habits and his old principles; he gives them up unsparingly, though it cost him pain, though the world think him over-precise and a fool — but he is a new man, and will have nothing more to do with the accursed thing — sin.”