There’s nothing equal about how some public officials are responding the U.S. Supreme Court’s freedom to marry ruling from a couple of weeks ago.
Sure, on its face, doing the same thing for everyone sure does sound equal. But in this case we’re talking about public officials who don’t want to do something for anyone, nevermind that the “something” is part of their officials duties and the job you, me and every other taxpayer is paying them to do.
Take, for instance, the Rowan County Clerk in Kentucky. She has decided that, no, she will not be issuing any marriage licenses to anyone if it means she also has to issue them to same-sex couples. She cited her religious views as the reason.
“You can go to our surrounding counties,” this couple was told by a staffer at the Rowan clerk’s office.
We’ve also heard of a couple of justices of the peace in Temple, Texas, who have taken a similar stance and are refusing to marry anyone rather than have to marry two men or two women.
Some politicians want to take the issue even further and make “no marriage licenses for anyone” the law of the land. Most notably, the idea has been floated by Republican presidential contender Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Here in Texas, it’s state Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, who’s asking Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session to get government out of the marriage business.
Rep. Simpson writes:
Marriage is a divine institution, defined by God and revealed in nature. Government should recognize it and respect it. Government has no legitimate authority to define marriage and no reason to license it. Why should we allow government to meddle with marriage, to cheapen it and to parcel it out for profit?
One wonders if Rep. Simpson would show the same urgency to get government out of marriage if the Supreme Court had ruled the other way and it was still only heterosexual couples who could legally marry in Texas.
Regardless, this kind of response is a temper tantrum. It’s similar to a playground hissy fit where you take your ball and you go home.
Most of us don’t get to pick and choose which of our job responsibilities we’re willing to do. In this case we have public servants, being paid with taxpayer dollars, who have decided to punish everybody because they want to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples who now have the freedom to marry.
No one is asking public officials to change their religious beliefs or views on marriage. They’re only being asked to do the job they agreed to do when they signed up to do it in the first place.