S.C. Republican Wants to Allow Govt. Clerks to Discriminate

S.C. Republican Wants to Allow Govt. Clerks to Discriminate December 12, 2014

Sen. Lee Bright, who appears to be anything but, of South Carolina has filed a bill that would allow government officials to refuse to perform their duties if they don’t morally approve of the person standing in front of them. Because something something “religious freedom.”

A South Carolina state senator is introducing a bill that would allow judges and other public officials to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples without facing punishment.

Sen. Lee Bright, a Republican, prefiled the legislation last week, ahead of the legislative session that begins in January, Columbia TV station WLTX reports. “The bill would protect people employed in probate or clerk or court offices from liability or punishments if they object to granting same-sex marriage licenses based on a sincere religious belief,” the station notes. In South Carolina, probate judges’ offices issue marriage licenses.

“At the end of the day I want to know I did all I could, and I think it’s something we need to do to protect these judges so they can serve in these honorable positions without feeling like they betrayed their faith,” Bright told WLTX.

Let me translate that for you: “I want to know I did all I could to make sure gay people continue to be discriminated against and treated like second class citizens the way God intended it.” But see, there’s this pesky little thing called the 14th Amendment, which guarantees to all Americans the “equal protection of the laws.” That means the government and those who work for it don’t get to pick and choose whether someone is allowed to receive a legal benefit that everyone else is entitled to. A clerk or a magistrate can no more refuse to issue a marriage license to a gay couple where it is legal than they can refuse an interracial or interreligious couple — and it doesn’t matter what their religion has to say about it.

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