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Progressive Texas

AUSTIN (CN) - No one took up two Texas judges' offers to hold gay "commitment" ceremonies on Valentine's Day though same-sex marriages are banned in the state.

Travis County Court-at-Law Judge John Lipscombe and his wife, visiting, retired Court-at-Law Judge Jan Breland, made the offer as part of a long-standing tradition to hold free courthouse weddings on Valentine's Day.

No same-sex ceremony was held - one same-sex couple did show up at the courtroom but left quickly, telling the Austin American-Statesman they did not like the media spotlight.

Jerry Patterson, commissioner of the Texas General Land Office and a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, said state judges do not have authority to officiate same-sex wedding ceremonies of any kind.

"Other than to get more votes in Travis County, I don't know why any judge in this state would be doing that," Patterson told the Statesman. "Marriage is between one man and one woman. Period."

Lipscombe is a Democrat.

Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, another Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, was critical as well.

"It's wrong for a sitting judge to hold a ceremony mocking our state constitution," he said. 'It is the responsibility of our judges to uphold the rule of law, and every Texan should be upset with this clear attempt to use their trusted position as a seat for activism."

When informed of the criticism, Breland told the Statesman, "Bring 'em on."

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