Freedom From Religion Foundation issues complaint against judge in forced marriage case

Published: Aug. 14, 2015 at 5:55 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 14, 2015 at 6:04 PM CDT
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Josten Bundy and Elizabeth Jaynes. (Source: KLTV staff)
Josten Bundy and Elizabeth Jaynes. (Source: KLTV staff)

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - The Freedom From Religion Foundation has issued a formal complaint against a judge who forced a Texas man to marry his girlfriend.

The case drew international attention after Smith County Judge Randall Rogers sentenced Josten Bundy to marry to his 19-year-old girlfriend Elizabeth Jaynes as part of his probation, which also included writing Bible verses and getting counseling. Bundy was presented with the option of serving 15 days in jail if he declined the probation. Bundy was facing misdemeanor assault charges after a February altercation with Jaynes' ex-boyfriend.

READ MORE: Judge sentences East Texas man to get married or face jail time

The couple has since married.

On Thursday, the foundation sent the complaint to the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct, saying:

Rogers also required Bundy to write Proverbs 26:27, "If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it," 25 times per day. Staff Attorney Sam Grover submitted FFRF's complaint to the judicial ethics commission on Aug. 13.

"Judges cannot require people to get married or force them to write bible verses," Grover said. "Judge Rogers' conduct was illegal and he should face serious consequences for it. His actions demonstrate a religious bias with significant implications for any nonreligious or non-Christian litigants appearing before him."

FFRF is a national state/church watchdog with more than 22,700 members, including nearly 1,000 in Texas.

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