Maryland County Clerks Reassigned Over Gay Marriage Objections

StmaryscountySome county clerks in Maryland would rather take a ride on Matt Grubbs' gay-free trolley than give same-sex couples marriage certificates. From the Washington Examiner:

When same-sex marriage becomes legal in Maryland next week, some employees in the St. Mary's County Circuit Court will stop performing marriages, passing the duty on to other employees.

"There are some [deputy clerks] that have voiced some opposition to doing it -- [they have] religious feelings about it ... so it's basically my idea that they won't do any marriage at all," said Joan Williams, clerk of the St. Mary's County Circuit Court. "Some people are just very against same-sex marriages, and I have to respect their reasons and their decisions."

Meanwhile, some photographers are uncomfortable over "how to pose" grooms or brides of the same sex. "I'm a photographer by trade myself, and I've done a couple of commitment ceremonies, and it is kind of awkward," said John Zito from the Maryland Wedding Professionals Association.

He went on, referring to a photographer he knows who won't work with gay or lesbian couples, "When you have two men, I don't know how to pose them, and this person [who won't perform gay marriages] didn't know how to provide them the same services [as he would provide straight couples] if they didn't know how to pose them." What a marvelous cop-out.

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  1. Do these people think that issuing a marriage certificate is them providing some special blessing to every married couple? Because that is really creepy when it comes down to it. I don't want some clerk's approval for my marriage.

    Posted by: NE1 | Dec 27, 2012 10:53:23 AM

  2. And photographers who can't get over the awkward situation of two men in a picture.. Wow and I had wondered what those people even went to school for in the first place.

    Posted by: NE1 | Dec 27, 2012 10:54:38 AM

  3. If your a public employee and you can't do your job for religious reasons, you should be FIRED or reassigned.

    Posted by: Drew | Dec 27, 2012 10:57:21 AM

  4. Why isn't the clerk being fired? They aren't priests or religious figures, they are civil servants and this is a government document that they are issuing. If they cannot do their job and serve the public then they should be fired.

    Posted by: Isaac | Dec 27, 2012 10:58:05 AM

  5. Oh my God what a perdicament John Zito from the Maryland Wedding Professionals Association!

    Since your profession doesn't require 8 years of Med School, why not figure it out once and be done with it. The only thing awkward is your stupidity.

    Posted by: John | Dec 27, 2012 10:58:16 AM

  6. Funny how gays getting married makes people religious all of a sudden.

    Posted by: Qj201 | Dec 27, 2012 10:59:29 AM

  7. said Joan Williams, clerk of the St. Mary's County Circuit Court. "Some people are just very against same-sex marriages, and I have to respect their reasons and their decisions."

    Really, Joan? You "have to respect"? Bigotry and hate deserve no respect. What a tool.

    Posted by: MARCUS BACHMANN | Dec 27, 2012 11:08:19 AM

  8. If those clerks are allowed to opt out of issuing a marriage license/marrying a same-sex couple, they, at minimum, should take a pay cut. If they're not doing what the other clerks do, they shouldn't make the same wage.

    Will they be allowed to refuse to issue death certificates to the families of pagans because paganism doesn't sit well with their brand of Christianity, Judaism, Islam?

    If they have strong feelings against capital punishment on religious grounds, do they get to refuse to handle court transcripts that involve capital murder cases?

    I think there were two cases in NY where the local clerks said that they would not issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples. One was told that she could either perform ALL of the duties of a clerk or she could look elsewhere for employment. She quit. The other clerk got presented with a similar alternative and, I believe, her religious objection melted.

    Posted by: thom allen | Dec 27, 2012 11:09:06 AM

  9. Homophobia at its finest.

    Posted by: KO | Dec 27, 2012 11:09:20 AM

  10. I find the photographer's statements absurd. If you can't figure out how to pose people in any situation, you aren't much of a photographer. The problem isn't that same sex couple posing is awkward, it's that they are uncomfortable with same sex couples. Period.

    Posted by: LiamB | Dec 27, 2012 11:09:40 AM

  11. The problem with John Zito is that his brain stopped maturing at about 5 years of age...not his "religious" or "moral" issues. You'll find he's a stupid person all-around and in general...can't think for himself or out of the box. It's a mindset...a lifestyle...a personal choice to be ignorant. Can you say...look for a new job john?

    Posted by: PAUL B. | Dec 27, 2012 11:09:54 AM

  12. this is not a church but a gloomy ol' office run by our tax paying families to include all govt documents and to work for the public. Either do your job or go home.

    Posted by: Bobel | Dec 27, 2012 11:15:13 AM

    2824 Grier Nursery Road
    Forest Hill MD 21050
    Phone: (410) 638-9417

    "We treat every wedding with the respect and dignity it deserves."

    Posted by: MARCUS BACHMANN | Dec 27, 2012 11:15:25 AM

  14. I am really sick of people not calling out others on their bigotry.

    "Oh, it's their 'deeply held religious beliefs'" and not that they're some hate-filled bigot.

    Posted by: Michael | Dec 27, 2012 11:22:08 AM

  15. Here's JZ's facebook page:

    Posted by: Michael | Dec 27, 2012 11:24:36 AM

    Circuit Court for St. Mary's County
    41605 Courthouse Drive
    Leonardtown, Maryland 20650

    Mailing address:
    P.O. Box 676
    Leonardtown, Maryland 20650

    Main phone number: 301-475-7844

    Posted by: MARCUS BACHMANN | Dec 27, 2012 11:28:03 AM

  17. I don't know how to pose them? Really? They don't know how to do he service? Really?

    Do these same people actually grocery shop for themselves. I mean, all those do they do it? It's so confusing.

    I would suggest these people quit their jobs and go on public assistance...because they are too stupid to function.

    Posted by: Bart | Dec 27, 2012 11:33:29 AM

  18. Public employees should do their job and if incapable of doing it for religious or personal reasons they should resign or be terminated. Period, no discussion is necessary. What if they have a personal or religious problem with marrying a Jew to a gentile, or Muslim couples or mixed race marriages, or previously divorced couples or old people who aren't going to procreate? They are not passing judgment, just performing a legal or administrative duty for which they are paid with taxpayer dollars. Gays, last time I checked, were taxpayers. So, do the job or go sell Bibles.

    As for photographers, some professionals have talent and some "professionals" lack both talent and ability and just know how to operate the mechanics of a camera. They have no artistic ability, no talent, no imagination, cannot see with a "photographers eye" and will produce bland, boring, two dimensional "pictures" as opposed to capturing the true love and essence of their subjects and the occasion. There are too many no talent hack picture takers posing as photographers, videographers. Seems to me John Zito is one of the hacks.

    On such a wonderful, meaningful occasion you want a photographer who has some artistic talent to photograph your marriage, not some amateur guy with a camera who learned his trade coaching kids not to squirm in front of the camera at WalMart. There's plenty of money to be made, hire folks who appreciate that fact and are comfortable working with you.

    Posted by: Bob R | Dec 27, 2012 11:38:08 AM

  19. Those photographers obviously suck. I have never seen much of a difference between the poses in gay or straight wedding pictures.

    Posted by: Steve | Dec 27, 2012 11:39:49 AM

  20. As a wedding photographer for 30 years, all i can say to this guy is that the problem is YOUR discomfort. I've done a great many same sex weddings in my time, and though there are some things you might want to avoid, they're fairly obvious, and the rest of it is just two people in love.

    Posted by: Ben in Oakland | Dec 27, 2012 11:42:57 AM

  21. Wow - I didn't know I could opt out of parts of my job that I didn't like - for whatever reason. I have never heard of religious exemptions for driver's licenses, or hunting licenses. This bigotry knows no bounds. This clerk's job is no more than a registry office - do your job or leave. Do you refuse to issue a license to divorcees? Do you ask if she is a virgin? Maybe they have some openings in refuse removal you are qualified for.

    Posted by: Hank | Dec 27, 2012 11:45:45 AM

  22. For what it is worth, I spend a lot of time in St Mary's county during the spring and summer. This is a very rural, very conservative county where the Catholic church first got it's founding in the States. The Amish also have a very large presence in the county. Doesn't surprise me that they are accommodating to the clerks. My experience has been that most people there have a live-and-let-live attitude. Never had any problems even with the old, old Catholic families

    Posted by: Adam Mathias | Dec 27, 2012 11:49:07 AM

  23. Checkout his pics,, they are not very good. Some are blurry and I love the one where the bride has a lamp post sticking out of her head. He needs to learn about composition.

    Posted by: Mawm | Dec 27, 2012 11:52:45 AM

  24. Well if Mr. Zito doesn't want their business, this pretty lady is more than capable of taking his business. Any body looking for a clever photographer like Leah Heute at

    Posted by: Chris | Dec 27, 2012 12:01:22 PM

  25. I think that providing the contact details of bigots/homophobes is fair game, but I would also encourage people to congratulate those who stand up for fairness. I dropped an appreciative FB message to the straight groom who publicized the trolley bigotry--he's easily found on FB--and would encourage others to do the same.

    Posted by: wil | Dec 27, 2012 12:04:04 PM

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