Justice in Texas for the late James Stone-Hoskins | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Justice in Texas for the late James Stone-Hoskins

Posted By on Tue, Aug 11, 2015 at 8:52 AM

AMENDED: Texas relents and adds husband to death certificate.
  • AMENDED: Texas relents and adds husband to death certificate.

James Stone-Hoskins, a Baxter County native whose husband John had to go to federal court in Texas to get his name added to
click to enlarge TOGETHER: The late James Stone-Hoskins (left) with his spouse, John Stone-Hoskins.
  • TOGETHER: The late James Stone-Hoskins (left) with his spouse, John Stone-Hoskins.
 his husband's death certificate, has achieved a measure of justice in Texas in death, along with a victory for the U.S. Constitution.

We've written about this sad case before. James and John Stone-Hoskins were legally married. When James died, his funeral back home in his native Baxter County became a controversy because of enmity from members of the church to which his family belonged. The nastiness in the family's moment of grief including distribution of materials condemning the dead man to hell for being gay.

Things weren't much better in Texas, where John Stone-Hoskins had to go to federal court because of Attorney General Ken Paxton's advice that the state need not add a legal spouse to James' death certificate. A federal judge in Dallas would have none of it. The Constitution demands equal treatment of the couple and he ordered Paxton to show cause why he should not be held in contempt of court.

Paxton, already facing a felony securities fraud charge, apparently wasn't ready to go to jail for his belief in discrimination against gay people. The state of Texas folded yesterday. Reports the Austin American-Statesman:

Wednesday’s contempt of court hearing for Attorney General Ken Paxton and a state health official was canceled Monday after state officials agreed to allow death certificates to acknowledge same-sex marriages, a lawyer involved in the case said.

The state also agreed to issue new guidelines allowing same-sex couples to be listed as parents on a child’s birth certificate, said Neel Lane, the lawyer for a Conroe man who sued Texas to be listed as the husband on his male spouse’s death certificate. .....

State lawyers told [Judge] Garcia that the new policy on death certificates — including how already-issued documents could be amended to reflect same-sex marriages — would be ready Tuesday, while the policy on birth certificates could take another week, Lane said.

John Allen Stone-Hoskins, who filed suit last week to be listed as the husband on his spouse’s death certificate, said he was ecstatic with the outcome.

“I’m hoping that this case is over and that this will end the discrimination by the state of Texas. That was my ultimate goal,” he said. “I hate the circumstances, with James’ death being the reason this went forward, but everything happens for a reason.”

Garcia issued a short order Monday rescheduling the contempt hearing for Sept. 10 to allow a “global resolution of the issues” raised by Stone-Hoskins and others who recently wrote to Garcia to complain of problems obtaining birth and death certificates that acknowledged their same-sex marriages.

Attorney General Rutledge? Arkansas Health Department? About time to get those birth certificates here covered under a process that acknowledges ALL married parents isn't it?

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