Unitarian Pastor: If My Religious Liberty is Protected, Then Don’t Refuse My Right to Marry Same-Sex Couples

As I posted a couple of days ago, Kentucky recently passed House Bill 279, allowing for discrimination in the workplace, housing, and even public facilities if the justification involves “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Governor Steve Beshear vetoed the bill, but the state’s other elected official had the numbers to override the veto.

So discrimination against gays, lesbians, atheists, Muslims, and everyone else who doesn’t believe what the Christian majority does is about to become commonplace in the state.

As tragic as that is, I have to appreciate this letter from a local Unitarian pastor in response to the bill:

Rev. Dawn Cooley

As soon as this bill passes into law, I will officially begin conducting weddings and signing marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples, as is standard practice in my religion. It will be my right to act in this manner, in accordance to my faith. If a county clerk refuses to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, I will have him/her cited for burdening my freedom of religion, but I am sure I will be able to find at least one who will understand and sympathize and act in accordance with the law.


The Rev. Dawn Cooley
First Unitarian Church
Louisville, KY

If only more church leaders had that sort of courge and moral conviction.

***Update***: Cooley points out in the comments that her idea won’t work as planned since her state defines marriage as between a man and a woman, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to stop fighting for this cause:

There is a snag to my plan that I have recently been made aware of: KY has a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. And apparently the constitution takes precedence over a statute (like HB279).

That said, I am not giving up.

(Thanks to ShoeUnited for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.