Marriage Mischief: Religious Right Lawyers Give States Bad Advice
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 11:31:16 AM EST

Travel back in time with me for a moment. It's 1956, and we're in the Deep South. An interracial couple approaches the county clerk to apply for a marriage license. The clerk says, "Oh, no! Don't you know that the Bible mandates separation of the races? I refuse to give you a license because it violates my religious beliefs."

Now let's move ahead in time. It's 2013, and marriage equality is the law of the land in Maryland. A same-sex couple approaches the county clerk to apply for a marriage license. The clerk says, "No way! Don't you know that the Bible condemns same-sex marriage? I refuse to give you a license because it violates my religious beliefs."

What do you think should happen to the clerk in each case? If you say, "The clerk ought to be fired," then we're on the same page.

This issue has come up because three states - Maryland, Maine and Washington - voted to approve marriage equality earlier this month. The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Religious Right legal group founded by TV and radio preachers, responded to this by sending a memo to officials in each state telling them that clerks do not have to provide licenses to same-sex couples.

Where did the ADF get this? Well, the group's lawyers just made it up. The ADF claims there are laws in each state that protect clerks who don't want to issue licenses to same-sex couples. I looked up the laws cited by the ADF, and that's not what they say. In fact, these laws merely state that county clerks may hire assistants to help them with their workload and that some duties may be delegated to these assistants.

Sure, if a county clerk doesn't want to issue a license to a same-sex couple, he or she could ask an assistant to do it. But what if the assistant won't do it either? Or what if the assistant is out sick that day? Or what if there simply is no assistant? Many small counties may hire just one clerk, after all.

Government employees are expected to serve everyone who comes through the door without bias. The law in Maryland, Maine and Washington now permits same-sex couples to wed. Any government official who does not want to provide the necessary paperwork to make it possible for people to exercise their legal rights needs to find another job now.

We've stated many times in this blog that marriage equality presents no threat to the religious groups that oppose it. No member of the clergy will ever be forced to officiate at a same-sex wedding. The First Amendment protects against that.

Members of the clergy have the right to discriminate and to insist that couples seeking a wedding ceremony meet certain theological requirements. Government officials are a different matter. They have absolutely no right to interject their personal religious beliefs into a state transaction - especially something as passive as issuing a wedding license.

What's next? An Amish guy gets hired by the Department of Motor Vehicles and refuses to renew your driver's license because there are no cars in the Bible?

I don't know what will happen to the memo the ADF is sending to state officials. I'd advise them toss it into the nearest circular file. It's for their own good. Any state that tells its employees that they have a right to deny services to citizens - services those people are legally entitled to - is asking to be sued.

 




Display:

WWW Talk To Action


Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (1 comment)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (21 comments)
Religious Freedom is Not Just for Christian Conservatives
Religious freedom is one of the central issues of our time. Arguably, it a central issue in any time, and every time, at least......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Dallas and its Historic Connection to the Religious Right
There has been a recent rash of demonstrations outside of the famous First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.  The current pastor appears to be......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
Fr. Frank Pavone Claims the 2016 Coughie Award!
Yes, folks it's time for the presentation of the annual Coughlin Award. As always, the competition was fierce. But this year, the gold......
By Frank Cocozzelli (1 comment)
Christmas Broadcasting Traditions
It is time to once again note the preposterous-but-malevolent claims that there is a War on Christmas. The annual revival of this repulsive anti-Semitic......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
Steve Bannon: Alt-Right Anti-Catholic or Political Opportunist?
In March 2016 Trump campaign strategist and CEO Steve Bannon made a comment that could be construed as being blatantly anti-Catholic. He accused the......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
Terms, Definitions & Glossaries for Writing about the Religious Right
One of the challenges in writing about the Religious Right and what to do about it is the matter of terms and definitions. That's......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
How The Election of Trump Made My Life Easier
I might be one of a select few who didn't vote for Donald but would have to say Trump's election made my life easier...I......
By wilkyjr (10 comments)
The Bakke Plot To "Infiltrate" Secular Institutions
Back in 2012-2014 I did a lot of writing and research on The Gathering, the yearly meeting of elite evangelical right philanthropists who collectively......
By Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
The Term "Alt-Right" is All Right
There is a misguided effort underway to not use the term "alt-right."  The effort, currently led by the Center for American Progress, claims that......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
Getting the Low Down on Dominionism
A refresher on dominionism will probably come in handy over the next little while. -- FC I am pleased to report that the task......
By Frederick Clarkson (10 comments)
The New Kochs: Anthology of DeVos Support, Funding of School Privatization and Religious Right
This post from 2-14 will be a helpful resource in the days ahead. -- FC Mother Jones' January/February issue includes an article titled "Meet......
By Rachel Tabachnick (1 comment)
Strategy for Privatizing Public Schools Spelled out by Dick DeVos in 2002 Heritage Foundation Speech
This post about the long term strategy for privatizing the public schools takes on fresh importance in light of the nomination of Betsy DeVos......
By Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)
Did God Engineer Trump's Win?
Political analysts have postulated a number of theories to explain the victory of Donald J. Trump in the presidential election: Hillary Clinton failed to......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)

Fear
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (0 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (6 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (3 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (4 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (3 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (0 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (13 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (1 comment)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (2 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (11 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.