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Maryland

Some Maryland county clerks resist officiating same-sex marriages

Thursday, December 27, 2012

ST. MARY’s COUNTY, Md. — The Chief Clerk of the Circuit Court for St. Mary’s County, Md., said Thursday that some deputy clerks were opposed to the state’s new law legalizing same-sex marriage, based on their religious convictions and will no longer officiate at wedding ceremonies.

Joan Williams told LGBTQ Nation that those clerks will no longer perform marriages when the new law takes effect on Jan. 1

According to Williams, she felt that she could respect their religious beliefs while still maintaining her office’s ability to carry out its legally defined functions.

“There are some persons in my office that have voiced some opposition to performing same-sex marriage ceremonies — their religious feelings about the subject are strong … so it’s basically my idea that they won’t do any marriage at all,” Williams said. “Some people are just very against same-sex marriages, and I have to respect their reasons and their decisions.”

Although there was opposition in St. Mary’s County, other municipalities and government offices across Maryland have embraced the change in the state’s laws concerning same-sex couples.

Loretta E. Knight, Clerk of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County in suburban Washington D.C. acknowledged that her office already has six same-sex couples lined up for when her office opens on January 2.

Carrie Evans, the Executive Director of Equality Maryland, a LGBT advocacy organization based in Baltimore, noted that in her opinion, there appears to be nothing discriminatory about changing the policies in the circuit court offices as to which deputy clerks perform marriages.

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43 more reader comments:

  1. Then sack, the bitches. There is no excuse for not doing your job while you are paid by the public purse

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:31pm
  2. You have a job to do. If you can’t do it, find a new one

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:32pm
  3. Blatant discrimination. Religion once again being an excuse to remain being a bigot!

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:33pm
  4. Then they’re not doing their job.

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:35pm
  5. You aren’t paid to push your agenda at a job like that. You are paid to do your job. If you can’t handle it, then find another job.

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:36pm
  6. If they don’t want to do their job they need to be fired.

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:37pm
  7. Do your job or get fired!

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:37pm
  8. Regardless of their convictions it is their job to perform marriages if not then find a new one

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:38pm
  9. then either be fired, or not paid, could go to jail for not upholding the law….

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:38pm
  10. If I don’t do MY job then I get fired…same should be applied here.

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:39pm
  11. I agree 100% with all the comments above! Do your job or find a new one! Religious convictions my ass! They aren’t bitching about a Wiccan, Atheist or Jewish couple getting married. If it was about religion then these Christian clerks should only be allowing other Christians to marry. They are not. I am tired of religion being an excuse to be a bigot towards gay and lesbian people.. This is blatant discrimination and needs to be treated as such. Quit using your religion as an excuse. It is getting really old and makes no sense.

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:45pm
  12. If it’s their job to marry people, you DO it!

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:45pm
  13. These people should be fired for insubordination

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:46pm
  14. Looks like every person above me already nailed my sentiments ! Good grief..even when “we win” it’s still a fight :(

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:47pm
  15. Well, according to my religion, I can’t serve christians…Oh wait!!! I’m an atheist. My point is, maybe if we treat them with such hate and contempt, they would finally learn

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:53pm
  16. good. fire their dumb asses! less stupid religionists working the counter – YAY!

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:53pm
  17. REALLY? WTF!

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:53pm
  18. This is unfortunate, but not surprising. We can’t legislate hate out if people’s souls. They have to evolve from hate themselves.

    It looks like the chief clerk had arranged for friendly officiants to do the marriages while the other clerks are removed to administrative duties (I hope away from people).

    And finally, I would not want some hostile clerk processing my license or officiating at my ceremony.

    But yes, if any of those clerks interfere or create hostility, they must be removed.

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:57pm
  19. do your damn job or go somewhere else…this should not be tolerated

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:58pm
  20. Lol!!!

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 10:02pm
  21. I dont care what anyone think about what i think or believe equality rights for regardless of sex preference if u dont agree with it then dont be gay then and look the other way and we are not GOD so it is NOT our place to judge anyone for any reason -Lisa H

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 10:03pm
  22. I’m sure if anyone in any other job position wanted to pick and choose what parts of their job requirements they were willing to perform they’d be looking for other work. Why do these clerks get special treatment?

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 10:08pm
  23. I love that she has just reassigned those clerks and they won’t perform any marriages. Go job!

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 10:10pm
  24. … FIRE-them-NOW!!!

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 10:18pm
  25. they should be told they are paid to do a job not to say no to the job and if they dont like it they can be replaced it is their job as workers for the county to officiate weddings

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 10:28pm
  26. Love is love.

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 10:38pm
  27. Aren’t these “PUBLIC” employees?! Don’t they realize that their paychecks come from tax dollars? Some of these tax dollars are paid by gay people! So, they shouldn’t expect to get paid either. Since it’s gay money!

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 11:00pm
  28. This is BS. Any clerk not performing marriages are not doing their job, therefore they should be relieved from their job. Why should the state waste money paying clerks who do not perform their full job duties?

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 11:01pm
  29. This sounds perfectly legal. Federal law requires employers to accommodate the religious beliefs of their employees unless it unreasonably burdens the ability of the employer to conduct its business. That doesn’t seem to be the case here. As long as those seeking a same-sex marriage in St. Mary’s County can get one at the Clerk’s office, the office would seem to be in compliance with the law. People seeking a same-sex marriage aren’t necessarily entitled to insist that a particular county employee perform the marriage. All they can demand is that the Clerk’s office marry them, and that would seem to be possible in this case.

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 11:36pm
  30. Fire them. It’s as simple as that, because people need jobs and most would be honored to serve all.

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 12:29am
  31. Do your job or quit.

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 1:04am
  32. They should be fired.

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 1:16am
  33. Ummmmm….. as State Employees, they do not and should not have a say in the matter! According to State Law, they are REQUIRED to perform marriages, PERIOD! There is no…. UNLESS, at the end of that sentence! They either, perform the duties of their jobs, or they need to be replaced!

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 1:44am
  34. p.s. Just, a little note to these, particular State Employees. How does it feel now….. to be “OUR BITCHES!”

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 1:48am
  35. Remember; all of you… bigots and hypocrites out there, you WILL NEVER STOP PROGRESS, or CHANGE!!

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 1:52am
  36. I’m with Barry, on this one…. “religious convictions, my ass!”

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 1:56am
  37. if they don’t to what the voters want fire them .

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 3:58am
  38. quoting Harry Truman when MacArthur didn’t follow his orders….”fire the Sonofabitch”

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 5:25am
  39. If I did not do my job I would be fired so same should pertain to them, I do not care what their religious beliefs are.. My job does not care what mine are… I am paid to do a job – period!

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 5:51am
  40. Fire them.

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 7:54am
  41. I think the general rule with jobs is either you do it or you get fired so….

    What are you waiting for? They’re not getting paid to talk about how they feel about the law or resist doing their jobs.

    Fire them. It’s that simple.

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 9:59am
  42. Maybe they should replace Joan Williams with someone that will actually make their employees to their ENTIRE job duties!

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 1:15pm
  43. There jobs are to provide a service to citizens. Nothing to do with religion!

    Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012 at 3:47pm