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After Gay Marriage Ruling, Texas Leaders Say 'Next Fight Is Religious Liberty'

Five stories that have North Texas talking: State leaders search for loophole in same-sex marriage law; celebrate Independence Day in Dallas; so long, Bikinis, Texas; and more. 

Over the weekend, Several Texas officials cited religious freedom as means to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples, following the Supreme Court ruling. Attorney General Ken Paxton offered the most recent response Sunday. The Associated Press reported: "He warned [that] any clerk, justice of the peace or other administrator who declines to issue a license to a same-sex couple could face litigation or a fine. But he says "numerous lawyers" stand ready to defend, free of charge, any public official refusing to grant one." On Saturday, Sen. Ted Cruz said county clerks should "absolutely" deny issuing marriage licenses if they have religious objections. The Texas Tribune reported: "Cruz's comments came a day after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick asked Attorney General Ken Paxton for an opinion on whether county clerks and justices of the peace can refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses or perform same-sex weddings. Texas already has a law in effect that protects clergy members who refuse to perform gay weddings due to their religious beliefs." And immediately following the ruling Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott had a similar response: 

Cruz speaks with Patrick Svitek of The Trib about county clerks opting out of gay marriage licenses

[Associated Press and Texas Tribune]

A new state law will require special education classrooms to have cameras installed if a parent, school board trustee or staff member requests it. The law, which will go into effect in the 2016-2017 school year, aims to improve safety for students against abuse or isolation. KUT reported: Sen Eddie Lucio wrote the bill to “provide protection for students who can’t protect themselves.” The bill will make schools pay for the cameras (The cheapest are approximately $150), which could pose a problem for some schools, but the bill “does allow the Texas Education Commissioner to create a grant program if there’s extra money for public education.” Read more here. [KUT]

There’s no place like Bikinis, Texas. Actually, there’s no Bikinis, Texas, as of last week. The Associated Press reported: “The privately owned town in rural Gillespie County has reverted to Bankersmith, the name it had before it was bought by an Austin restaurateur whose chain requires waitresses to wear bikinis. The Austin American-Statesman reports Doug Guller bought the ghost town in 2012 and renamed it after his Bikinis Sports Bar and Grill chain.” Bankersmith is about 75 miles northwest of San Antonio. [Associated Press]

July 4th is this Saturday, and apparently, Dallas is the place to be. released its annual list of top destinations for the upcoming July 4th weekend. Dallas jumped 17 spots from last year’s rankings to claim the #17 spot among the most popular Independence Day destinations. With decent weather in the forecast, lower prices on gas and airfare than last summer and decent hotel rates, why would you celebrate the holiday anywhere else? That goes for visitors and locals alike. Just look at all the places you could drink beer, watch brilliant explosions and don American apparel. 

Dallas ranks high on another summer-centric chart: The Sweatiest Cities List. Dallas made the No. 9 spot after scientists at Environmental Health & Engineering looked at factors, such as average temperature and humidity levels during summer months, population and housing density and average wind speed. Dallas' geographic location surely contributes to the city's "sweatiness" but so do the myriad of metal surfaces reflecting and trapping the brutal summer heat. Hey, at least we're not in Houston — the No. 3 spot.

Here's the full list:

  1. Tampa, Florida
  2. Miami
  3. Houston
  4. San Diego
  5. Orlando, Fla.
  6. Washington, D.C.
  7. Raleigh, North Carolina
  8. Los Angeles
  9. Dallas, Texas
  10. Charlotte, North Carolina