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. They have a right to their beliefs. They have no right to act on them. That's a well established legal principle. If the world worked like you wanted it to, racial segregation would still exist.

    Posted by: Steve | Dec 27, 2012 6:27:58 PM

  2. So the photographer was 'outing' himself as a moron and professionally incompetent? Wow.

    Posted by: Tarc | Dec 27, 2012 7:14:03 PM

  3. "I'm a photographer by trade myself, and I've done a couple of commitment ceremonies, and it is kind of awkward when you are in a new situation and you want to do it right, and don't know if there is something you are missing." is the full quote.

    This was taken way out of context.

    Posted by: Paige Schmidt | Dec 27, 2012 9:23:36 PM

  4. Mr. Zito's argument is hilarious because he's basically admitting that he and his colleagues are incompetent and/or lazy. If you're a photographer and you don't know how to pose someone then you damn well better figure out, that's kind of your job.

    Posted by: Matt | Dec 27, 2012 9:55:45 PM

  5. I have *NO* problem with Joan Williams's decision. As long as her office can do its job commensurate with good citizen service, she should be able to assign her employees however she deems fit. period. Get off her case.

    @rb: Many people cannot distinguish between accepting and agreeing with a viewpoint. It sounds like you are one.

    @Paige Schmidt: How about posting a link to the full interview so we can determine for ourselves what to believe? Based on your one example, you have a different definition of "way out of context" from the rest of the world. (Yes, some people here do need to learn how to read, because they have attributed someone else's words to Zito.) BTW - how about thanking TR for giving you the link to circulate to appropriate people?

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Dec 28, 2012 1:34:08 AM

  6. Maryland is another state governed by a progressive Gael, a son of Eire, named Martin O Malley.

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 28, 2012 3:08:23 AM

  7. "Some people are just very against same-sex marriages, and I have to respect their reasons and their decisions."

    Yes, and it's wise for them to resign since they have shown themselves in capable of fulfilling the requirements of their Civil jobs.

    Posted by: darkmoonman | Dec 28, 2012 3:43:29 PM

  8. I'd agree with Diogenes Arktos regarding Joan Williams - she apparently reassigned those particular employees so they would have nothing to do with marriage licenses of any kind. Rather than terminate them, she reassigned them, hopefully to some area where they would have no interaction with the public. You know, like spending their day going through file cabinets to make sure nothing was misfiled.

    The photographer quoted has a valid point if his concern is a lack of experience with photos for same-sex weddings - they apparently use a cookie-cutter approach to photographing weddings for reliability, and there may not be a cook book for same-sex weddings. I can see why a reasonable person might be nervous - while I'm not a professional photographer, I can take decent pictures, so my sister asked me to take the ones for her wedding. I told her that it is a specialized area and that you really need someone who knows how to photograph those so that "standard" pictures that everyone expects in a wedding album would not be missed.

    Posted by: Bill | Dec 28, 2012 4:19:41 PM

  9. i would like to ask any county clerk how many marriage cirtificates they issue for people who have been married and divorced over and over? the bible is very clear on this subject. there is major hypocracy in these rural counties.

    Posted by: wkm1965 | Dec 28, 2012 5:31:35 PM

  10. my comment is if you are a professional photographer and don't know how to "pose" people getting married might want to get another profession and maybe get a photographer that can pose people

    Posted by: Bernie | Dec 28, 2012 6:04:27 PM

  11. @Bernie: A photographer can run a viable business taking portraits and not know how to do weddings. A wedding photographer has to get pictures the couple will like without interfering with the ceremony. You can't get the ceremony to pause while you move the camera and lighting equipment, so you better know where things go in advance. You also don't want to miss things like cutting the cake because you are photographing Aunt Emma with the bride's parents and didn't notice that the cake was about to be cut.

    Things that can be different for a same-sex wedding include the fact that you don't have (or can't count on having) a bride wearing a white dress and a groom wearing a suit. A "standard shot" that depends on a white or light-colored dress contrasting with a darker suit may not work at all.

    While a skilled photographer can probably figure something out, that takes time and time may be something you don't have. And you have to get it right the first time. Of course someone is going to be a bit nervous initially - its due to knowing that there are so many ways of screwing up. Plus you can't start by doing a few as an assistant to someone with experience because everyone is doing it for the first time.

    Posted by: Bill | Dec 28, 2012 6:37:28 PM

  12. "Carrie Evans of Equality Maryland, a gay rights group, says there appears to be nothing discriminatory about changing which deputy clerks perform marriages."

    If a spokesperson from one of your own advocacy groups doesn't have a problem with the arrangements, then why should you?

    What ever happened to "tolerance" and "live and let live?"

    Every gay couple that wants a marriage performed is going to get one.

    So go get married, or go watch some friends get married.

    You got what you wanted, and now all you can think about is ratting out a few clerks and trying to get them fired?

    If this keeps up, there are surely going to be regrets.

    Posted by: MichaelGC | Dec 28, 2012 8:21:55 PM

  13. If these employees don't want to do their job then they should be fired!

    Posted by: Maria | Dec 31, 2012 2:59:12 PM

  14. I am a St. Mary's resident. One of the commenters is correct - most of the county does have a live and let live policy however; if a county or state employee is refusing to abide by the laws - enacted by vote and receiving a majority of support by the residents of Maryland - this person or persons should NOT be reassigned they should be dismissed! Our courthouses need to be filled with employees who uphold the law - not those who continue to spread hate and bigotry!

    Posted by: OoLaurie | Jan 8, 2013 3:52:42 PM

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