Marriage clerk brands lesbian couple 'an abomination'

Marriage clerk brands lesbian couple 'an abomination' February 16, 2016

Debbie Allen, of the Gilmer County clerk’s office in West Virginia, is at the centre of a row after she reportedly told a lesbian couple that their union was wrong in the eyes of God.
In reporting Allen’s outrageous behaviour under the heading “Debbie Allen: the Next Kim Davis?” Vada Magazine said that Samantha Brookover and Amanda Abramovich went to the Gilmore County Courthouse to register their wedding, where they were allegedly told by the deputy clerk that God would judge them.
Allen said:

We did not attack them. We did not yell at them. We were not aggressive with them. I felt I talked nicely to them. I just told them my opinion. I just felt led to do that. I believe God was standing with me and that’s just my religious belief.

Brookover and Abramovich, above, claimed that Allen huffed, slammed down copies of their driving licences and proceeded to tell them that their marriage was wrong in God’s eyes and that no one in Gilmer County would ever marry them.
Brookover said they were:

Flabbergasted and hurt and angry like you wouldn’t believe.

The incident was reported to the county clerk who oversees Allen, Jean Butcher. She said:

They were issued the licence, and that was the main thing.

According to Pink News, Americans United – a group that advocates for separation of church and state – has warned the clerk she may have been violating the constitution by espousing her religious beliefs while serving in an official capacity.
In a letter to the clerk’s office, AU wrote:

We understand that Deputy County Clerk Debbie Allen recently attempted to discourage a same-sex couple from applying for a marriage licence by condemning the couple’s relationship while processing the application.
Ms Allen told the couple that their attempt to get married was wrong and that God would judge them.
When the mother of one of the applicants called County Clerk Jean Butcher to complain, Ms. Butcher defended the behavior of her staff and stated that she had similar religious views.
Not only was this conduct inhumane, but it flagrantly violated the couple’s constitutional rights. By chastising the couple and expressing religious disapproval of their relationship and attempt to marry, the County violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment as well as the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

The letter continues:

In order to bring the County Clerk’s office into compliance with the Constitution, the office and its staff must refrain from conveying religious or anti-gay messages when processing marriage-license applications or performing other official functions …  Just as County officials could not disparage the relationships of interracial or interfaith couples while processing their applications, County officials may not demean the relationships of same-sex couples.
Second, by telling applicants for a marriage licence that God disapproves of their union, the County is violating the Establishment Clause. Governmental entities may not communicate an ‘endorsement of religion’ …
The Establishment Clause violation here is especially serious because Ms Allen proselytized to a same-sex couple visiting a government office to obtain a government license that is required for the couple to get married.
Indeed, the Deputy Clerk has admitted that she sought to impose her own religious beliefs on the couple … Recently, a federal court ruled that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has no First Amendment right to interfere with citizens’ right to marry, despite her own religious opposition to marriage by same-sex couples; as a government official, Davis may not ‘openly adopt a policy that promotes her own religious convictions at the expenses of others’.

AU concluded:

Please bring the County Clerk’s office into compliance with the Constitution by ensuring that County officials do not disparage same-sex couples or direct religious messages to the public. We would appreciate a response to this letter within fourteen days.

The action is part of Americans United’s Protect Thy Neighbor project, which seeks to stop religion-based discrimination against LGBT persons and others.

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  • barriejohn

    She’s not the only one in the news today:
    You have to wonder just how naive people can be. My jaw very nearly hit the floor last night when I read that Ferdinand Marcos Jnr is likely to be voted into office in the Philippines later this year!

  • Angela_K

    This lovely couple are going to be judged by a non-existent god – I’m sure they must be quietly laughing at this. The only person doing the judging is the vile loony christian Allen.

  • SallyinMI

    We must be very careful in the next 10 months, or the entire nation will be ruled by a religious zealot who thinks he has a direct line to God. And if the GOP does take the WH and that President starts naming SC justices, the entire democracy will disappear.

  • Broga

    @SallyinMI: USA politics is infested with religious bigots. But is Trump religious? I thought that unlike David “I do religion” Cameron Trump wasn’t religious.
    The UK has an interesting situation. Scarcely anyone, and that includes clergy, politicians and the public, takes any of the religious nonsense seriously and yet the image presented is of a religious country inhabited by believers. The PPC (Papal Broadcasting Corporation) behaves as if we were all religious.
    Prince Charles and his mama are enthusiasts for homeopathy as long as they have immediate access to the top of the queue for clinical attention when they are ill. Charles, an individual with strange views arising from a flaky personality shaped and distorted by being surrounded by sycophants from birth, wants tax funded homeopathic hospitals.

  • L.Long

    These dimwits are not naive, they are stupidly egocentric aholes who think they are better and smarter than anyone else and the law and doing their jobs don’t apply because they have been shown by other higher rating egocentric aholes that they can do so!!!!!

  • barriejohn

    L.Long: I was referring to the general populace, who blindly vote in people who are quite plainly unfit for office, and in many cases if not lining their own pockets promoting their own agenda. No wonder rulers and politicians think that they can get away with anything, because in many cases they can!

  • YCFU

    Well, eating shellfish is also an abomination according to the Bible. I wonder if these Jesus freaks would protest seafood restaurants?

  • Dave Godfrey

    The Bible makes it perfectly clear that God regards homosexuality as an abomination, and that those practicing homosexual acts should be executed (Leviticus 20:13).
    Why do the likes of Debbie Allen, Kym Davies et al insist that the first part of this justifies their discrimination, but totally ignore the second part? They are openly defying their god’s express wishes by not executing homosexual couples on the spot, and are displaying an attitude of arrogance which, according to Proverbs 16:5, is also an abomination and should be punished.

  • L.Long

    Actually DaveG the buyBull does NOT make it clear that gay sex is bad, that’s one of the problems. In fact leviticus makes it clear that gay sex is the proper action. It sorta says…. if a man lays with a man as he would with a woman that is an abomination…..! Well this is 100% true …it is in the buyBull….So as a gay man when I lay with a woman I do nothing and go to sleep!! So if I lay with a man I MUST NOT DO NOTHING AND MUST NOT SLEEP! So I have no choice I must have mad sex!!!! The buyBull says so!!!!

  • 1859

    What this really amounts to is that the religious believe that my genitals do not belong to me, that peoples’ genitals do not belong to people. They are really the property of god. A very curious notion…

  • John

    How is it that such people get elected to these positions?
    Often, because no one else will put themself forward for it.
    They often get the job without any election being held.
    The religio-nuts may deliberately target these positions.
    It is similar for positions like the town dog catcher.

  • barriejohn

    John: That is certainly the case with School Governors, as I have pointed out many times. The religious are quite organized in targeting such positions,and if we rationalists are serious about stemming the advance of superstitious humbug in our schools then we should get active as well. They are running circles around us and having a bloody good laugh about it.

  • Justin Badby

    I was a school governor and they do infiltrate and try to dominate. Get all upset too when you tell them prayers are are a waste of time.

  • John

    I was a Chair of the Governing Body of a local primary school for 4 years.
    Religion never came up during meetings of the governing body.
    The school was a county council school and non-religious in nature.
    The real worry is how many new schools are now religious in nature.
    We have religiously-fanatical government ministers and bureaucrats.
    Between them, they appear determined to restore dogma back to the UK.
    The way to stop them is for humanists and secularists to get organised.
    I have often said before that freethinking humanists and secularists should open their own schools under the provisions of the so-called “free” schools initiative and the so-called “academies” programme.
    Yes, it requires many resources – are we all so financially destitute?
    The religionists are organising themselves to take over such schools.
    If we do nothing about it, can we then complain about it?

  • John

    I don’t think religionists are out to have a laugh when they take over publicly-funded schools.
    I think we all know that their very serious intention is to take over public assets for their own private benefit – a form of religio-privatisation.
    Their intent is to proselytize, propagandize, evangelize and mind-wash young and vulnerable children.
    It is the usual child abuse scenario which they unfailingly target in their own uniquely perverted manner.
    I am sure every single freethinking humanist and secularist is resolutely opposed to these perverts targeting our children – but we are so few.
    What can we do other than try publicly to expose all the perverts?
    I think we are gradually winning the contest – but it takes a long time…..

  • barriejohn

    John: I am sure that it varies from place to place. I used to teach in a large state comprehensive in Wiltshire in pre-academy days, and three local ministers were ex officio governors and exerted great influence (it was a small country town, BTW, and the same was true of the village where we actually lived, which had another large comprehensive serving a wide area). Assemblies were VERY religious, and evangelists and even monks visited to do their proselytizing. I now reside in Lymington, and have heard the vicar of St Thomas’s boasting openly about their success in getting members onto local governing committees. You are right that we need to be more organized; secularists tend to be so laid back and accommodating, and we are being walked over again!
    (PS That’s a reply to your first comment, as I was obviously a bit slow typing again!)

  • AgentCormac

    Frankie say ‘Hands off the fuckin’ threads,man!’

  • harrynutsak

    I think it’s time to impose psychological qualifications for these positions and keep delusional people out of office once and for all.

  • Cali Ron

    Broga: I think SallyinMI may have been referring to Ted Cruz who has been running second to Trump. He’s a RW evangelical who’s idealogy makes him even scarier than Trump. Trump is a megalomaniac who only cares about himself and money. Cruz is a born again who is intent on making America a “christian nation again”. He’s so extreme even his own party doesn’t like him.
    John: I agree. The Christians have become very adept at using the political process to push their religious agenda in America as they apparently have in the England. They have been pushing home schooling and charter schools as a way around laws to teach and indoctrinate children into their delusional beliefs.
    It is imperative that all freethinkers, secularists, atheists, etc. get involved and in the very least vote. Active participation in the political process (volunteering, running for office, attending government meetings, etc.) would be even better.

  • barriejohn

    Cali Ron: Regarding Charter Schools, I have some very bad news for Britain!

  • barriejohn
  • John

    On the question of school governors, the problem seems to be that the BHA wants relationships with SACREs (Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education) and for humanists to participate on these bodies, even though many or most SACREs want no real input from freethinkers of any kind.
    We need to get the NSS to set-up a Secular Education Forum or Society, along the lines of the Secular Medical Forum and Secular Lawyers Society.
    I also think a similar body needs to be established in the USA too.
    Otherwise, how do we stop religious fanatics from gaining ever-more power and influence over the global education systems ?

  • barriejohn

    John: I think you’re right. When an association is set up you always hear people saying : “Who do they think they are?”; They don’t represent me”; “I never voted for them”, and so on, but the truth of the matter is that the government loves to be seen “consulting” with bodies of all kinds – however spurious – and the religious are past masters at playing this little game, thus achieving many of their goals quite painlessly, while the rest of us look on in horror.

  • CoastalMaineBird

    peoples’ genitals do not belong to people. They are really the property of god.
    So, I guess circumcision is just a 10% tithe, then?