Well isn’t that fun? Jailing a clerk for refusing marriage licenses. The latest episode in the ‘rights for all’ crusade has resulted in an otherwise blameless (if deluded) woman being jailed. Superficially over refusing to issue marriage licenses to a number of the entitled. Who, instead of simply saying “Okay” and going off to Lost Wages for a weekend of excess and a (Still equally legal and binding) wedding by an Elvis Presley impersonator made a big issue of things, instead electing to involve the increasingly ironically named American Civil Liberties Union; and when they couldn’t have the stubborn God-squadder fired or fined, ended up with an elected county official in jail.
Now as I understand it, this particular clerk can still be carborundum in the oil of law administration in her county while banged up, and is being so by refusing to instruct her staff, who are reportedly a little nervous about taking decisions without their bosses approval. A judge can’t issue court documents themselves, nor can the Sheriff. The Judge and Lawyers do the law, the Sheriff and Deputies do the enforcement. Many critical courthouse documents however, are issued by the county clerks office. Which kind of puts everything in a little bit of a procedural quandary. The Judges can give out all the orders they want, but if a key person in the administrative process has been slung in the old hoosgow for refusing to issue a document over a matter of conscience, certain aspects of the administrative process of law in that county can be sabotaged. Especially if unsigned licenses are given out under duress, as is reportedly the case. Will a less sympathetic judge or civil servant refuse to accept those licenses at some future date? They are after all official court documents, and in all western jurisdictions, if the i’s and t’s aren’t properly dotted and crossed, well, there’s a fine howdy-do and no mistake. Some lawyer down the track is going to have a complete field day.
The whole matter is such a comedy of hurt feelings and entitlement that you’d need, as dear old Oscar Wilde once wrote; “A heart of stone not to laugh.” The massive, one size fits all, hammer of Federal law brought down on someone whose only ‘crime’ was one of conscience? Kind of makes a mockery of the whole freedom of conscience principal the good old US of A was founded upon. The whirring noise from the vicinity of Martin Luther Kings tomb is nothing to worry about. Move along now.
North of the 49th Parallel of course it’s a different matter. If two people want to get ‘married’ regardless of sex; fine, no problem. No one bats an eyelid. Well, no-one of a critical nature anyway. No-one has that kind of power, apart from the court itself. In the USA it’s different; they have ‘States Rights‘.
Other clerks in various Kentucky counties are also refusing licenses. Possibly because states law hasn’t (at the time of writing) caught up with Federal and still prohibits the following;
Prohibited and Restricted Marriages: (In Kentucky)
Marriages between persons who are nearer of kin to each other by blood, than second cousins.
Marriages between first cousins.
Marriages with a person mentally incompetent.
Marriages where there is a husband or wife living, from whom the person marrying has not been divorced.
Marriages not solemnized or contracted in the presence of an authorized person or society.
Same sex marriages.
Common law marriages.
I have a distinct feeling this one isn’t over yet. Midden, windmill, incoming!