In the immediate aftermath of the June 26 Supreme Court of the United States’ (SCOTUS) decision to legalize same-sex marriage across the country, people were wildly optimistic. There were tears and laughter and not a little self-righteous ribbing against Christians, conservatives, and homophobes. There was also the somewhat naive assumption that all would be right with homosexual and queer couples and everyone could finally get married in piece.
However, as stories from Kentucky, Texas, and Ohio have shown us, the path to true marriage equality is not yet smooth. In these states, public officials such as county clerks, judges, and even the attorney general have refused to allow same-sex couples to marry, despite the fact that they are federally mandated to and it is their job to do so. A county clerk in Kentucky is facing an ACLU lawsuit after being caught on video refusing to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple (This is slightly erroneous. She was already being sued before the video went viral.). All across social media, people are posting the names and numbers of organizations to contact if they are denied and steps to take if they are denied.
This behavior is both absurd and criminal. It is these public servants’ jobs to uphold the law, even if they don’t personally or religiously agree with it. For over two hundred years, clerks were not allowed to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and they didn’t, despite the fact that they could have claimed their religion, conscious, or morality dictated they do so. Not too long ago, same-sex couples could be arrested in Indiana just for asking for a marriage license, but I don’t recall mass runs on the courthouses and attorneys telling the public to ignore the law and do what they want. No, people went through the proper channels to uphold and then change the law. James Obergefell, whose lawsuit made the June 26th ruling possible, spent two years petitioning and pushing his case through the proper channels to have his marriage and his commitment to his husband validated by his country. And now some pissy, self-righteous government officials are going to spit on him, the laws they have sworn to uphold, and the country and people they claim to serve.
While I will argue vigorously that there is nothing amoral or wrong with homosexuality, being queer in any way, or same-sex marriages, I do not believe everyone should be state-mandated to agree with me. I think they should if they are decent human beings, but I do not think they should be forced to hold a Pride parade or have a same-sex marriage. So people can continue to think homosexuals are weird and wrong and hell-bound if they wish, but they need to make a choice. If their religious convictions are so important, they need to quit their job and file a lawsuit to try to overturn the SCOTUS decision. But they cannot keep taking advantage of the vulnerable people they serve by denying them their rights. They are not being admirable. They are not being brave. They are being bullies, cowards, and children. And they need to be removed from office.