While state governors have been reluctant to declare they will resist the Supreme Court’s recent anti-constitutional ruling on same-sex “marriage,” at the local level public officials are exercising their religious liberty, and standing for state prerogatives under the Constitution, by declaring they will not be bound by the Supreme Court’s same-sex “marriage” mandate.
In Tennessee, for example, the entire Decatur County Clerk’s Office resigned rather than follow the recent same-sex “marriage” mandate announced by the Supreme Court.
Decatur County (Tennessee) Clerk Gwen Pope explained her decision to quit her elected post. “It’s for the glory of God. He’s going to get all the glory,” she told WBIR TV.
Pope asserted she would rather resign than submit to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She and her two staff members, Sharon Bell and Mickey Butler, have all quit for the same reason. Their last day of work is July 14.
The TV station indicates the phone in the Decatur County Clerk Office “rang nonstop” as “[o]ver and over again, people praised the decision of the three workers who have decided to step down from their positions rather than hand out same-sex marriage licenses.”
A county clerk in Arkansas plans to resign on Tuesday due to a moral objection to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, ArkansasOnline reported on Monday.
Cleburne County (Arkansas) Clerk Dana Guffey said Monday she has notified the county judge of her plans to resign. She says she has a moral objection to issuing the marriage licenses following Friday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling mandating same-sex “marriage” nationwide. She said the decision to leave the post after 24 years was not made out of hate.
Linda Barnette of Grenada County, Mississippi, resigned for a similar reason, stating:
The Supreme Court’s decision violates my core values as a Christian. My final authority is the Bible. I cannot in all good conscience issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples under my name because the Bible clearly teaches that homosexuality is contrary to God's plan and purpose for marriage and family.
Hood County (Texas) Clerk Katie Lang cited religious beliefs as her reason for refusing to file a marriage license application for a same-sex couple. However, she promised that someone in her office would accommodate the couple.
In Texas Bastrop, Buleson, Jackson and Ector counties were also still declining to issue licenses.
Lang is now being sued by same-sex couple Jim Cato and Joe Stapleton.
Democratic Rowan County (Kentucky) Clerk, Kim Davis, is one of numerous clerks in Kentucky who are protesting the Supreme Court decision by denying everyone a marriage license, saying that anybody who wants on will have to defer to another county.
“My conscience will not allow me to issue a license for a same sex couple,” Davis said to LEX18 Lexington, KY News, “because I know that God ordained marriage from the very foundation of this world to be between a man and a woman.”
Davis is now being sued by the Kentucky branch of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Clerks in Casey and Montgomery counties in Kentucky said they also have suspended the issuance of marriage licenses at their courthouses. Clinton County Clerk Shelia Booher said she's "still getting legal advice" on how she can proceed,
Montgomery (Kentucky) County Clerk Chris Cockrell, though, said he isn't prepared to change his own definition of marriage so quickly.
"I have suspended all marriage licenses until I can get legal counsel," Cockrell said. "Nobody had even read the whole court ruling yet — it was, like, 109 pages — when the governor was sending us a letter saying, 'Go, go, go!' Well, a lot of us still have questions."
Chris Jobe, president of the Kentucky County Clerks Association, said he has heard from several clerks who have religious objections to same-sex marriage, so they have decided to stop issuing any marriage licenses.
Lawrence County, where Jobe is clerk, likewise has gotten out of the marriage-license business, at least for now.
"We're exploring our options," Jobe said, citing the suddenness of the change. "We're still trying to sort it out."
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's decision to support clerks who want to opt out of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples for religious reasons. Likewise, in Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal issued a legal memo Monday ordering that “reasonable accommodations” should be made for local clerks and justices of the peace who have a religious objection to opt out of granting marriage licenses to gay couples.
Paxton, in his Sunday opinion, did warn that any employee who does not issue a license to a same-sex couple could face lawsuits or fines. But he also said a number of lawyers are ready to defend — at no cost — any official who chooses to not grant same-sex “marriage” licenses.
Paxton's statement is just one of the several defiant statements from Texas Republicans following the ruling. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, for example, told the Texas Tribune in an interview in Iowa that the court's ruling "seeks to force Bible-believing Christians to violate their faith."