Aleteia

Judge Who Declined to Perform Lesbian Wedding Must Resign, Says Gay Advocate

Wil C. Fry-cc
Share

Pressure mounting on justices to set aside personal beliefs in wake of Obergefell

It’s a judge’s duty to preside at the marriages of any couple that comes to him—heterosexual or homosexual—and if he is unwilling to do so, he "needs to step down.”


That is the view of the
 executive director of the LGBT rights group
Equality Toledo
Nick Komives, reacting to news of a Toledo, Ohio, judge who excused himself from the civil marriage ceremony of two lesbians. 

“They didn’t deserve to be humiliated; they didn’t deserve to be inconvenienced,” Komives
told
the Toledo Blade. “That’s just wrong, and we won’t tolerate it. It is his duty to perform this ceremony, and if he’s not willing to perform his duties, he needs to step down.”

Judge C. Allen McConnell declined to officiate at the wedding of two women Monday. He has apologized to the couple for a 45-minute delay, explaining that his “personal and Christian beliefs” compelled him to ask that another judge step in. McConnell said he was waiting for guidance from the Ohio Supreme Court on whether he may be excused from a rotation of judges handling matrimonial duties at Toledo Municipal Court, but was willing to “continue to perform traditional marriages,” according to the
Daily Signal.

McConnell is far from alone in finding himself in a dilemma now that the Supreme Court has ordered all 50 states to allow same-sex "marriage." A county clerk in Kentucky said that nearly half of the county clerks in the state have asked Gov. Steve Beshear to call a special session of the legislature to address the issue of marriage licenses in the wake of the
Obergefell decision,
WSAZ3 reported July 8:


Lawrence County Clerk Chris Jobe says a letter sent Wednesday by 57 clerks to Beshear explains that they face a conflict between their religious beliefs and job duties following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 26 ruling. 

On Tuesday, House  Speaker Greg Stumbo asked Beshear to call lawmakers back into session over the issue. But Beshear said there was no need for lawmakers to consider an issue the Supreme Court has settled. 

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis after she refused marriage licenses to two gay couples and two straight couples.

 

In Tennessee, three officers in the Decatur County Clerk’s Office resigned from their positions because of their opposition to the high court’s June 26 decision.

According to Decatur County Commissioner David Boroughs, County Clerk Gwen Pope and employees Sharon Bell and Mickey Butler have all resigned because of religious opposition to the ruling,
The Jackson Sun reported July 1. 


"That’s a personal individual decision, but I strongly support them if their faith is that strong," Boroughs said. "I’m proud of them that their faith is so strong and well-rounded that they feel they can do that."

There is no reason why such judges or clerks should have to resign, Ken Connelly, legal counsel for the group Alliance Defending Freedom, told
Catholic News Agency. Connelly said clerks could cite First Amendment protections of the free exercise of religion and of speech. And every state’s Constitution must contain protections similar to those in the First Amendment.

 

Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.