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Religious Tolerance logo

The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage (aka gay
marriage) across the U.S. in its ruling of The Obergefell v. Hodges
case from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, & Tennessee.

Part 62:
2015-September:
Results of national poll on religious
freedom to discriminate vs. marriage equality.
U.S. couples with licenses trying to be married.
Still more developments in Rowan County, KY.
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We use the term "gay marriage."to represent the marriage of two persons of
the same sex. We prefer "Same-sex marriage," a more inclusive term that
includes spouses with a bisexual sexual orientation, but it would make this web
site harder to find because most search engines cannot handle synonyms.
"LGBT" refers to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons and transsexuals.
"LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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2015-SEP-07 to 10: National poll held on marriage equality vs religious freedom to discriminate:

An ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted between SEP-07 and 10. This was just after Clerk Davis in Rowan County, Kentucky was released from prison. Poll results were published on SEP-15. 1 The public appears to strongly value equal treatment of clients as more important than religious freedom of clerks in this situation.

1. When asked the question:

"In general, when there’s a conflict between someone’s religious beliefs and the need to treat everyone equally under the law, which do you think is more important?"

Results were:

  • 74% responded that treating everyone equally was more important.
  • 19% responded that religious beliefs were more important.
  • 06% had no opinion or didn't answer.

2. When asked the question:

"As you may know, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that gay and lesbian couples have the right to marry. Nonetheless a county clerk in Kentucky has refused to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, saying she objects on religious grounds. Do you think this county clerk should or should not be required to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples?"

Results were:

  • 63% responded that she should be required to issue licenses;
  • 33% responded that she should not be required to issue licenses;
  • 04% had no opinion or didn't answer.

The margin of error was ±3.5 percentage points.

The group who conducted this poll -- Langer Research Associates -- assumed that all same-sex couples are composed of two gay or two lesbian partners. This is normal for public opinion polls. Same-sex couples with one or two bisexual partners are ignored.

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2015-SEP-10: Some couples with marriage licenses are having difficulties getting married:

Obtaining a marriage license is only the first step for same-sex couples. Many are then faced with a second hurdle. They have difficulty finding an individual who is licensed and willing to marry them. Most Unitarian Universalist, United Church of Christ, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Reform or Conservative Jewish clergy are pleased to marry LGBT couples. However, most other pastors, ministers, priests, rabbis, etc. will refuse such couples.

Clergy have absolute protection if they refuse to marry couples for any reason. Some clergy have been refusing to marry qualified couples with valid marriage licenses for centuries with impunity because the couple was interracial, of the "wrong" skin color, of the "wrong" faith group, of the "wrong" religion, of the "wrong" sexual orientation or "wrong" gender identity, or were regarded as too immature, etc.

Recently, a few judges have also been refusing to marry same-sex couples holding valid marriage licenses; some are refusing to marry all couples.

Culture News, a conservative Christian information source, reported that County Judge Vance D. Day in Marion County, Oregon has stopped officiating at all weddings. Some in the LGBT community are apparently criticizing him in the local media for his actions. The state Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability is investigating whether he should be allowed to continue in office. Judge Day said:

"It appears that the Commission has thrown everything in but the kitchen sink. The clear issue that they're after me on is that I had stopped doing weddings because I have a firmly held religious conviction." 2

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2015-SEP-12: Liberty Counsel files an appeal to delay the issuing marriage licenses:

Kim Davis' lawyers at Liberty Counsel filed an appeal requesting a delay in the issuance of marriage licenses from her office. They assert that U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning's court order applies only to the four plaintiff couples who filed the original lawsuit. They consisted of two same-sex and two opposite-sex couples.

There was no immediate response from the District Court. And so, Clerk Davis was stuck with the difficult choice:

  • To do nothing and allow her deputies to issue marriage licenses, or

  • To obstruct the deputies from issuing licenses and find herself back in jail for contempt.

Judge Bunning had written that his mandate to issue licenses applied to all couples, not just the four couples who filed suit. But Davis' lawyers allege that order was issued improperly. 3

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2015-SEP-13: Further developments in Rowan County, KY; one is ominous :

Clerk Kim Davis was released from jail where she had been held on contempt of the U.S. District Court in Eastern Kentucky. She took a few days off work, and resumed working on Monday, SEP-14. In her absence, deputy clerks have been routinely issuing marriage licenses to all qualified couples. She has not revealed whether she will allow her deputies to continue that policy in the future.

Wilson Dizzard, writing for Aljazeera America, discussed a new complication in the county:

"An armed group called the Oath Keepers has vowed to defend Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis from arrest by U.S. Marshals if she keeps defying a federal judge’s order to issue marriage licenses ..."

The Oath Keepers, who carry weapons in public and wear military garb, say they are dedicated to stopping authorities from trampling on American citizens’ constitutional rights. ..." 4

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that monitors U.S. militias and hate groups, the Oath Keepers have a total national membership of about 30,000. 5

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Equal treatment prevails in views on gay marriage," Langer Research Associates, 2015-SEP-15, at: http://www.langerresearch.com/
  2. "Homosexualist Oregon Persecutes Christian Judge," Culture News, 2015-SEP-09, at: http://culturecampaign.blogspot.com/
  3. Dan Good & Emily Shapiro, "Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis Says Marriage Licenses Being Issued Without Her Authority," ABC News, 2015-SEP-14, at: http://abcnews.go.com/
  4. Wilson Dizzard, "Oath Keepers armed group offers to protect Kim Davis from arrest," Aljazeera America, 2015-SEP-1, at: http://america.aljazeera.com/
  5. Ryan Lenz, "Oath Keepers Rally Reveals Radical Politics of Group," Southern Poverty Law Center, 2015-JUL-25, at: https://www.splcenter.org/

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How you may have arrived here:

Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2015-SEP-15
Latest update: 2015-SEP-21
Author: B.A. Robinson
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