W.Va. Clerk Cannot Verbally Abuse Same-Sex Couples Seeking Marriage Licenses, Says Americans United

Feb 17, 2016

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

By Americans United

A Gilmer County, W.Va., deputy clerk who verbally abused a same-sex couple seeking a marriage license has no right to harass or attempt to evangelize the people she is obligated to serve, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says.

In a letter sent today to Gilmer County commissioners and County Clerk Jean Butcher, Americans United explained that Deputy Clerk Debbie Allen violated the constitutional rights of a same-sex couple that recently obtained a marriage license from the Gilmer County Clerk’s office when she told them they would be judged by God.

“It is both cruel and unacceptable for a government employee to berate anyone he or she serves in an official capacity,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Even though Ms. Allen did not refuse to issue a license in this instance, she still deprived an innocent couple of their rights when she treated them like second-class citizens.”

Recently, Samantha Brookover and Amanda Abramovich sought a marriage license at the Gilmer County Courthouse. It has been reported that Allen, who processed their license, told the couple that she did not agree with their marriage and allegedly called their actions “an abomination” during a rant that lasted two to three minutes.


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7 comments on “W.Va. Clerk Cannot Verbally Abuse Same-Sex Couples Seeking Marriage Licenses, Says Americans United

  • @OP – Recently, Samantha Brookover and Amanda Abramovich sought a marriage license at the Gilmer County Courthouse. It has been reported that Allen, who processed their license, told the couple that she did not agree with their marriage and allegedly called their actions “an abomination” during a rant that lasted two to three minutes.

    If she cannot serve her customers in a civil manner in accordance with their legal rights, then clearly she needs to move to a job which does not require interpersonal skills and civil negotiations.

    Perhaps clearing litter from the streets would be a more appropriate public service job!



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  • If someone is employed in a position where they deal with the public they should do so in a respectful manner. She seems to be of the view that her religious beliefs give her the right to be offensive.



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  • There are usually problems where religious bigots have the powers in positions government!

    Here is a different example!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-35585015

    A province in Pakistan has become the first in the largely Muslim country to give Hindus the right to register their marriage officially.

    The bill was passed on Monday by lawmakers in Sindh – home to many of Pakistan’s three million Hindus.

    Activists say that without such a law, Hindu women are targets for forced conversions, abduction and rape, and there is a lack of rights for widows.

    The national assembly is considering a wider law recognising Hindu marriages.

    Pakistan’s other main religious minority, Christians, have a colonial-era law recognising their marriages. However, Hindus have never had any legal framework to register their unions until now.

    Many Hindu couples say this has given them logistical problems with basic activities such as opening bank accounts, applying for visas, getting national identity cards and getting shares of property, because they lacked proof of marriage.

    Under the new law, Hindus above the age of 18 in Sindh can register their marriages. It can be applied retroactively to existing unions.

    However, the legislation also contains a controversial clause that allows the marriage to be annulled if any spouse converts.

    In rural Sindh, young Hindu girls have been a regular target for abductions, forced religious conversions and underage marriages. The perpetrators of these crimes are often protected by local influential figures linked to Islamic seminaries.

    The provincial government says the new law will help discourage many of these crimes. Rights activists have described it as a progressive measure and a step in the right direction.

    “Passing the law is one thing, the real test will be how the authorities will go about enforcing it,” said Zohra Yusuf, of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

    But the head of the Pakistan Hindu Council, Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, told the BBC the law did not go far enough to protect Hindu women from forced conversions.



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  • I lived in Utah for 20 years and you think that the WV clerk was outrageous?

    1) I was the first woman in pre-med at the University of Utah majoring in Molecular and Genetic Biology. 4.0. Scored in 96th percentile on MCAT. Went before a board of five Mormon men who all said that I would be taking the place of a man who needs to support his family! Didn’t have the money to go elsewhere—parents thought money was wasted on a “girl’s” college degree. So I became a nurse practitioner.

    2) Married a cop who turned out to be very abusive. Terrified to get a divorce as he promised to kill me if I tried to leave. When my lawyer and I went before a judge (Another Mormon) I was told to stay in the marriage…that was MY DUTY! The lawyer, a man of course–not even women lawyers then–showed the judge my emergency room pictures and a picture of my 240# 6’5” cop husband-a body builder. The judge granted the divorce and I moved 3,000 miles away to Hawai’i.

    Women are second class citizens everywhere..and remain so in the USA. I was our state’s amateur golf champion and could NOT get a tee time unless my husband called for one. If I played golf with a male stranger he would walk off the course rather than play alongside. Men will NEVER understand how women are objectified…now that Sports Illustrated just came out with its annual “swimsuit” issue. This issue supports the rest of the magazine. Swimsuit? Most were literally painted on.

    And now that I am 67 y/o? I am a nothing. Not noticed, not considered valuable. We have the chance to vote for our first woman president in the US and the tired old complaints against her are nauseating. They even blame Mrs. Clinton for her husband’s sexual behavior in his presidency. A man held up a sign at her rally that said “Iron my shirt!”

    So welcome my lesbian sisters to the patriarchal universe.



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  • Helen #5
    Feb 17, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    I was our state’s amateur golf champion and could NOT get a tee time unless my husband called for one.

    A man held up a sign at her rally that said “Iron my shirt!”

    As a golfer, weren’t you tempted to use a 5-iron on his shirt tail? 🙂

    http://www.golfdigest.com/story/5iron_0707

    Went before a board of five Mormon men who all said that I would be taking the place of a man who needs to support his family!

    I’m afraid the the second “m” in Mormon, is still silent!



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  • I see some apologies are now forthcoming for earlier physical and verbal abuses elsewhere!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-35656503

    Homosexuality was decriminalised in the Australian state of New South Wales in 1984

    Gay rights activists who were beaten during Sydney’s inaugural Mardi Gras in 1978 have received a formal apology in the New South Wales parliament.

    Cheers rang out at the parliament following the apology in Sydney.

    The march, borne out of solidarity for New York’s Stonewall movement, called for sodomy laws to be abolished and an end to discrimination.

    But it was met with unexpected police violence, mass arrests and public shaming.

    airfax media has apologised for outing the 53 people involved by publishing their names, addresses and occupations.

    It is unclear whether the NSW Police Force will issue a separate apology.

    The apology received a standing ovation on the Parliament floor and within the public gallery, which included some of the original “78ers”.



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