This post relates to one I wrote last week, “Government Officials Refusing to Allow Same-Sex Couples to Marry,” because according to this article, same-sex (and opposite sex) couples in Rowan County, Kentucky will have to wait until August to see if they’ll even be allowed to get married. That’s right: despite the Supreme Court’s June 26th ruling legalizing same-sex marriage all across the nation, same-sex couples in Rowan County, Kentucky might not get to exercise their constitutional rights until August – and even then, there’s no certainty.
And the reason? Because issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples might compromise the county clerk’s religious views.
First off, there is no passage in the Bible that states, “Government official, thou shalt not issue marriage licenses to those who possess the same sexual organs and wish to wed in lawful congress.” Go on, look. Secondly, issuing a marriage license is not a violation of this woman’s freedom of religion; it is something she has to do as a part of her job that she finds personally distasteful. She is still allowed to wear religious paraphernalia. She is still allowed to attend any church or synagogue or circle that she likes. She is still allowed to crochet “Eat pray love” all over her throw pillows. She can boycott as many Planned Parenthoods and Comic Cons as she wants. She does not have to give up her religion or change her viewpoint. She simply has to do her job without discriminating against others. That is not a violation of her freedom of religion.
I am so tired of people trying to say that doing something they don’t like is a violation of their freedom of religion. Freedom of religion relates to getting to practice any religion (or not practicing any religion) without fear of persecution. It is not about getting to persecute others by claiming that their existence offends your god. Hating others is your right as a free willed human being, but there is no Constitutional protection for that hatred. You just have to grow up and hate others quietly. Deal with it.
I also have no idea how this clerk can even hope to win. She is neglecting her government duty, which is an arrestable offense, and violating the Constitution. The judge can’t rule for her or he will be ruling against the Constitution and the Supreme Court. And if by some crazy chance, the judge does rule on her behalf and the ruling stands, we are in for a world of hurt. Suddenly, government officials everywhere will be denying same-sex couples and queer individuals even more of their rights and every fundamentalist with a grudge will follow suit. And it won’t be limited to the queer community either – it will be a short, quick step towards further discrimination against people of color, women, the disabled, and anyone even remotely vulnerable to persecution. Hopefully, the judge opens his eyes and issues a swift, decisive ruling so same-sex couples can get on with their life and we can all move on to the next big issue.