As KY Clerk is Sued and TN Clerks Resign, AFA Says It’s Time for Protections
TUPELO, Miss.—One county clerk in Kentucky has already been sued for refusing to issue same-sex wedding licenses based on her faith convictions. Even though Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis is declining to issue licenses for any wedding—homosexual or heterosexual—the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky has filed suit against her.
The ACLU’s suit is on behalf of four couples, two homosexual and two heterosexual, all of whom were turned away when they tried to get marriage licenses from Davis’ office, according to the Associated Press.
And in Tennessee, the entire clerk’s office of Decatur County has resigned. Sharon Bell, Mickey Butler and Gwen Pope all quit their posts rather than to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses, based on their religious beliefs. “It’s for the glory of God,” Pope has said in media interviews, reported by Breitbart.com. “He’s going to get all the glory.” Her last day of work is tomorrow.
American Family Association (AFA, www.afa.net) is now calling on state leaders to draft protections for these county clerks, and other state residents like them, whose livelihoods will be affected by the Supreme Court’s recent ruling to legalize same-sex marriage in America.
“Christians knew action against the faithful would be swift after the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon, “and the conflict between sexual liberty and religious liberty has indeed erupted quickly. Our state leaders, including attorneys general and governors, must enact some sort of protections for employees like Kim, Sharon, Mickey and Gwen. Jobs are being lost, careers are ending, and faith convictions are being tested. Cases like this clearly demonstrate the collision between perceived sexual freedoms and religious freedoms. It’s up to our state leaders to come to the aid of their residents and stand for the very specific religious liberties protections written into the U.S. Constitution.”
American Family Association has championed for religious liberties for some time—and even more so since the SCOTUS decision. AFA first thanked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for his commitment to defend religious liberties in an Action Alert to AFA’s one million-plus friends and supporters. In an official statement, Paxton said that county clerks in Texas can refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if they object on religious grounds.
Then, in a separate Action Alert, AFA also asked Americans to urge Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood to follow Paxton’s lead in his state, after Grenada County 24-year Circuit Clerk Linda Barnette submitted her resignation, stating that issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples violated her religious beliefs. Hood, however, told Mississippi News Now that once the Supreme Court ruling becomes effective in Mississippi, “circuit clerks will be required to issue same-sex marriage licenses.”
AFA is making important resources available to help church pastors, leadership and other ministries to protect themselves, their churches and their religious liberties.
American Family Studios, a division of AFA, has produced a short documentary that provides legal analysis of the dangers posed to religious liberty by the recent Supreme Court ruling. Watch the trailer here. In addition, AFA is offering insights from AFA General Counsel Patrick Vaughn in a commentary titled “Will a gay marriage storm crush your church?,” which will help churches understand the dangers of taking no action on this important matter.
Alliance Defending Freedom has also produced a handbook, “A Legal Guide for Churches, Christian Schools, and Christian Ministries,” which walks churches through every step of adopting strong marriage policies, including sample resolutions and statements.