Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Candidate Bill Lawrence sent an email out early Thursday morning, saying if elected he will not marry same-sex couples. In 2015, the U.S.Supreme Court mandated states allow such marriages to be carried out.
In the same email, Lawrence took a shot at opponent James Kerbow, stating he is running on his mother’s name. Kerbow’s mother is the current Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Becky Kerbow.
Kerbow has said he would conduct same-sex marriages. Candidate Sherman Swartz posted on his campaign’s Facebook page Friday morning, saying he would not conduct any marriages at all and he believes the position is more important than making profit on the fees the JP can charge to officiate. He added his opponent Kerbow doesn’t agree.
Shortly after the mandate, Becky Kerbow conducted the first same-sex marriage in Lewisville. Kerbow said though she took some heat for it, she believed it would be hypocritical to not comply with the law.
The Lewisville Texan Journal has reached out to Lawrence for comment. Lawrence has called himself a principled conservative and said he has been a Republican for over 40 years.
In early November, Lawrence was chosen to be the interim president for the Lewisville Area Chamber of Commerce but was released from his position Thursday. Chamber chairman Dan Irvin said their legal advisor recommended that no staff member be running a campaign for public office, so the executive board voted to release him. Lawrence was also the mayor of Highland Village for three terms. He announced his candidacy for justice of the peace in July 2017.
In responding to the criticism, Kerbow said neither Swartz or Lawrence had tried any cases in JP court, despite both being attorneys. Kerbow meanwhile, said he has been both a plaintiff and defendant in JP court.
“I have the most experience in JP court,” he said.
He also called Swartz’s post misleading, saying $100 is a base price for this practice and those who take advantage of it have a chance to save money rather than spend it on a wedding.
“As long as the two participants have a legal marriage license, I’m there to perform a civil ceremony,” Kerbow said. “As justice of the peace, it is your job to uphold the law, the constitution and treat all people fairly and impartially.”
Kerbow also mentioned the ceremonies would be after court hours and on weekends, which wouldn’t cost the taxpayer money and will not interfere with court proceedings.