A clerk resigns & others across the nation refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses

by Kimberly Pennington |

(REUTERS/Brendan O'Brien)Pamela Norby (2nd L) and Crystal Norby - who is five months pregnant - kiss after being married at the Milwaukee County Clerk's office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin June 6, 2014, hours after a federal judge deemed Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. After the US Supreme Court June 26 ruled same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, some county clerks are resigning and others are threatening to no issue the licenses, citing religious convictions.

GRANBURY, Texas (Christian Examiner) -- In Mississippi, one county clerk has already resigned rather than be put in a position to issue a same-sex marriage license, while in Texas, another has said by law she cannot be compelled to go against her religious convictions. In Kentucky, another has drawn the blinds in her office -- suggesting same-sex couples go to another county.

Hood County Texas county clerk Katie Lang is refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses and has no plans to do so according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

"It's my religious liberty, my belief in traditional marriage. Nobody has tried to get one. Nobody has called about them . . . other than reporters," she said.

Lang's decision comes on the heels of statements by Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton giving state and county officials permission to follow their religious convictions regarding facilitation of same-sex marriages.

Paxton said the 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court Obergefell v. Hodges majority opinion ruling, which he called "lawless," explicitly states that people are allowed to continue espousing their religious convictions on the issue.

County clerks in nearby Collin, Denton, Dallas, and Tarrant counties have already started issuing licenses to same-sex couples. Dallas and Tarrant counties are home to the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.

Denton County Clerk Julie Luke takes a different approach than Lang. "Personally, same-sex marriage is in contradiction to my faith and belief that marriage is between one man and one woman. However, first and foremost, I took an oath on my family Bible to uphold the law, and as an elected public official, my personal belief cannot prevent me from issuing the licenses as required."

The Associated Press reports resistance among some county clerks in Kentucky too. Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis closes her office blinds to protestors chanting, "Do your job," and has suggested same-sex couples try a different county.

Warren County, Kentucky, attorney Ann Milliken stated that Kentucky officials who don't comply with the Supreme Court mandate must resign.

Casey Davis, Casey County, Kentucky clerk, said he would opt for prison before issuing a same-sex marriage license though no couple has yet requested one from his office.

State officials in Mississippi are considering doing away with marriage licenses completely across the state, but Grenada County Clerk Linda Barnette did not wait. In her resignation letter from her 24-year tenure as county clerk she said she is a Christ follower who will "obey God rather than man."

Cleburne County, Arkansas clerk Dana Guffey, also a 24-year veteran in her position, plans to resign although her office has received no requests for same-sex marriage licenses.

"It is definitely a moral conviction for me," Guffey said. "I didn't announce anything publicly or on social media or anything because I didn't want my decision to be seen as hateful. I know some people will look at it like that, but this wasn't easy. It wasn't a decision I made lightly. And I do not hate anybody," she said.

Guffey first met privately with County Judge Jerry Holmes Monday to notify him of her decision to resign.

On Monday, the Alabama State Supreme Court issued an order in which Chief Justice Roy Moore says allows but does not require county clerks and probate judges to refuse same-sex marriage licenses and ceremonies for 25 days.

Moore explained that all U.S. Supreme Court decisions have a 25-day waiting period before becoming law to allow case participants to file a motion for a re-hearing. In Moore's opinion, the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling is not yet law meaning Alabama state law which defines marriage between only one man and one woman is still in effect.