MARION COUNTY, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – COVID-19 vaccine mandates will not be enforced for the staff of Marion County or the citizens of Marion County, according to a letter sent to county employees Tuesday.

“When we raised our hands and took an oath to God that we would uphold the Constitution of this great State of Texas and the Constitution of the United States of America, we made a promise to uphold liberty at any cost,” reads the letter from County Judge Leward J. LaFleur and Sheriff David Capps sent from the judge’s office to local media late Tuesday night.

“With that responsibility, we have made the decision, that you will not be required by Marion County to adhere to any vaccine mandate or any other mandate that would infringe on your individual liberties and freedoms. We want to be very clear; this is not taking a stance being for or against vaccine but rather a stance on the government’s authority to mandate it. It is our sworn duty to assure you of your freedom and rights, including a right to medical privacy and freedom.”

Marion County is not the first to defy President Joe Biden’s sweeping new federal vaccine requirements announced last week. The president’s executive orders require COVID-19 vaccinations for all federal workers, health care workers, and teachers, as well as employees of companies with over 100 workers – or provide proof of vaccination or agree to weekly testing.

The new orders could affect as many as 100 million Americans.

Republican leaders are threatening to sue the Biden administration over the mandates. Arkansas’ Secretary of State announced Monday that he will not require employees of his office to be vaccinated or provide negative COVID-19 tests. The sheriff in Faulkner County in Arkansas has also said he won’t enforce the federal mandate for their employees.