Montana

Some Mont. clerks won’t issue same-sex marriage licenses for religious reasons

Ted Ribey with the Clerk of District Court's office in Yellowstone County attaches a seal to the wedding license of Jill Houk and Randi Paul, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Billings, Mont. At least 5 other clerks in the county are refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Matthew Brown, AP

Ted Ribey with the Clerk of District Court's office in Yellowstone County attaches a seal to the wedding license of Jill Houk and Randi Paul, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Billings, Mont. At least 5 other clerks in the county are refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.Matthew Brown, AP

Ted Ribey with the Clerk of District Court’s office in Yellowstone County attaches a seal to the wedding license of Jill Houk and Randi Paul, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Billings, Mont. At least 5 other clerks in the county are refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

BILLINGS, Mont. — A few county clerks in Montana‘s Yellowstone County are refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, citing their religious opposition to same-sex marriage.

KTVG-TV reports that the County’s human resources department had told Clerk of District Court Kristie Boelter that employees can choose not to issue marriage licenses for religious reasons.

The County cited Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Part of Title VII states “It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer….to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin…”

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Boelter said 20 clerks work in her department and the opting out was not a problem.

“I have a particular clerk that has religious beliefs that would like to opt out of doing the marriage licenses and we will allow that to happen. I have enough clerks in my office to be able to accommodate that.”

Boelter says that in addition to the one clerk who cited religion for refusing to issue the licenses, four others said same sex marriage went against their morals and values.

However, Boelter said morals and values do not apply to Title VII.

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