Gay Marriage

Judge Rules Against Mississippi Law Allowing State Staff to Discriminate Against Gay Couples

Can't treat same-sex marriage licenses differently from heterosexual ones.

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Gay wedding
Ingram Publishing/Newscom

One part of Mississippi's broad bill passed in response in April to the Supreme Court's decision mandating same-sex marriage recognition is in trouble.

Mississippi's House Bill 1523 was passed around the same time as North Carolina's infamous transgender bathroom law. While North Carolina's law was what garnered the most attention and outrage, HB 1523 was a very different and broader creature.

To summarize, HB 1523 appeared on the surface to be a "religious freedom" law, but what it really did was give the government stamp of approval on three particular religious beliefs and only those beliefs: that marriage is between one man and one woman; that premarital sex is bad; and that sexual identity is an immutable birth characteristic.

The bill then forbids antidiscrimination claims in certain public and private areas on the basis of those beliefs. So a baker couldn't be forced to make a wedding cake for gay couple and a therapist or surgeon couldn't be forced to assist with a transgender person's treatment for his or her condition. But a baker could be required to otherwise serve gay customers and a surgeon could be required to operate on transgender people for reasons unrelated to any transitions. Those are just a couple of examples. I wrote more about the details of the law back in April.

The law also forbids Mississippi from punishing state employees for refusing to hand out marriage licenses or solemnizing weddings from same-sex couples, but the courts were required to make sure somebody provided the services when needed. And that's where we hit the problem. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves says they can't do that. The Supreme Court ruled that states are required to recognize same-sex marriages, and so states cannot treat gay couples differently from straight couples in that respect. From the Associated Press:

Reeves is extending his previous order that overturned Mississippi's ban on same-sex marriage. He says circuit clerks are required to provide equal treatment for all couples, gay or straight. He also said that all 82 circuit clerks must be given formal notice of that requirement. …

"Mississippi's elected officials may disagree with Obergefell, of course, and may express that disagreement as they see fit β€” by advocating for a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision, for example," Reeves wrote Monday. "But the marriage license issue will not be adjudicated anew after every legislative session."

Note that this law was different from what passed back in 2015 in North Carolina (over the governor's veto). In North Carolina, legislators decided to give magistrates the authority to legally recuse themselves from handing out marriage licenses over their religious objections. But to avoid the trap of being accused of discrimination against gay couples, the individuals had to forgo performing all marriages or handing out all marriage licenses. Likewise, the compromise solution to Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis' objection to being ordered to put her name on wedding licenses for marriages she disapproved of was to take the clerks' names off all licenses.

That's not what happened in Mississippi. It specifically set up a system where government officials may treat same-sex couples differently from heterosexual couples, so the federal judge's ruling should come as no surprise at this point.

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147 responses to “Judge Rules Against Mississippi Law Allowing State Staff to Discriminate Against Gay Couples

  1. Forbids or forbade, Scott. Pick one.

    1. Much better.

      1. Forboddened.

    2. My Co-Worker’s step-sister made $13285 the previous week. She gets paid on the laptop and moved in a $557000 condo. All she did was get blessed and apply the guide leaked on this web site. Browse this site….
      This is what I do________ http://www.Trends88.com

  2. The law also forbids Mississippi from punishing state employees

    The courts are now mandating what MS may or may not punish?

    1. Yes they are.

      1. So, it would be even less of a stretch for the federal courts to say that a state needs mandatory minimums for certain crimes.

        Sorry, Colorado, you must give at least 1-5 years for pot possession.

        1. Except that there’s no constitutional right to be sentenced to jail for marijuana possession.

    2. I’m pretty sure ‘forbid antidiscrimination’ is at least a double negative too.

      1. Whoops, that was means for FMSS above.

  3. It makes perfect sense that a surgeon could say no to doing a sex change but still be required to treat people for actual medically necessary procedures. That is a licensing issue.

    As far as the government officials, if you object to gay marriage, don’t work for the government. Why would you want to. The law is what it is.

    As far as anyone not connected with government, gay couples who expect everyone to recognize their union can go fuck themselves. No one owes them acceptance.

      1. +3

        No, the polygamists haven’t had their judically-legislated protections yet.

    1. Of course, licensing issues are an entirely different constitutional kettle of fish.

    2. It makes perfect sense that a surgeon could say no to doing a sex change but still be required to treat people for actual medically necessary procedures. That is a licensing issue.

      Telling physicians that they must provide certain medical procedures even over their objections or lose their license would be a massive and unprecedented expansion of government authority.

      Next up: telling physicians that they have to provide abortions on demand or lose their license.

      1. MNG|8.12.09 @ 12:48PM|#|?|filternamelinkcustom

        To say that someone has a moral duty to provide immediate help to one imminently in need of what you can provide, and that that duty is so strong that it justifies coercion to mke you obey it is not necessarily to say that the duty exists or at the same strength to justify coercion for every situation which exists in the world of someone in need who could use something you my have.

        In On Liberty Mill talks of how it would be OK to use coercion on a person who knows the bridge is out and could reasonably flag down car approaching the bridge-less chasm. That seems right to me. Like imposing a duty on that guy to share his information with the driver I can see imposing duty on a doctor to share his skills on the dying guy at his feet…

        Flashback Tuesday

        1. What a flashback!

          Where art MNG, Mike Laursen, Patriot Henry, Seamus, Fluffy et al?

          What has happened to Fluffy? When was the last time he posted?

          1. Fluffy was around recently, but I’m not sure how long since the last time I saw him post.

          2. MNG stomped off in a huff one day. And Fluffy is sorely missed.

        2. that that duty is so strong that it justifies coercion to mke you obey it is not necessarily to say that the duty exists or at the same strength to justify coercion for every situation which exists in the world

          I’d agree, in a world without slippery slopes.

        3. When did MNG quit posting? It must have been several, several years ago. I sometimes miss his pseudo-intellectual babbling.

          1. I can’t remember. It wasn’t like joe, where it was a thread that broke the whiners back. MNG got huffy, came back for a couple of weeks in a severely reduced capacity and then went silent.

            1. MNG was quasi-libertarian when he left. I’m sure the current crop of commenters convinced him not to be.

              1. Someone that spends at 300+ thread not grasping the distinction between the initiation of force and the force used to defend oneself from an initiation of force was never and never will be a libertarian, quasi-, semi-, demi- or likewise.

                1. Someone that spends at 300+ thread not grasping the distinction between the initiation of force and the force used to defend oneself from an initiation of force was never and never will be a libertarian, quasi-, semi-, demi- or likewise.

                  It’s not difficult to see why Hazel got confused. MNG is fucking Murray Rothbard by comparison.

        4. I almost forgot what a smug twat MNG was.

          1. So you forgot 99% of MNG? πŸ™‚

            1. Basically, yeah, he hasn’t been around for so long I forgot about him.

        5. That’s funny, I actually read On Liberty and don’t remember that part.

          John just hasn’t been the same since MNG wandered off. I do kinda miss OO though.

      2. No. It is telling a physician that if you are going to be in the surgery business, you need to do surgery on anyone who can pay. Saying you have to sell is not the same thing as saying you have to provide it. And abortions are not medically necessary in all but the most extreme cases.

        1. Yeah! There’s nothing wrong with telling doctors that they have to treat everyone whether they like it or not.

    3. No one “expects” … ANY entity other than the Government to “recognize” … anything other than REALITY.

      The couples are getting legally married. That is reality. If the God-squad can’t garner a modicum of integrity to recognize reality, that’s their problem, not anyone else’s.

      We care not for your “acceptance”. We care that we be treated EQUALLY in the public square as the Constitution demands, despite any religion-induced prejudices.

  4. This thread ought to be fun.

    1. Yeah, that alt-text is preposterous!

      1. Can’t treat same-sex marriage licenses differently from heterosexual ones.

        I didn’t know marriage licenses could be identified by sex!

        1. Or rather, “by sexuality.”

        2. You have to peek under the seal.

          1. Or follow them into the bathroom.

        3. They CAN’T … anymore. Thanks be to the FSM, blessings be upon Him.

      2. His Francophilia is appalling.

      3. So we have to provide cake and photoshop services??? Shackleford and his kind are out of control.

        1. You have to do your job. Period.

          If you make your living selling cakes to the public, you have to do it for ALL of the public.

          Religion-induced prejudice is a social toxin, corrosive to a CIVILized society.

  5. the government stamp of approval on … particular religious beliefs …

    It specifically set up a system where government officials may treat same-sex couples differently from heterosexual couples, so the federal judge’s ruling should come as no surprise at this point.

    OK, what’s magic about “beliefs” concerning sex/gender? Why should government officials be able to treat (for the sake of discussion) pot-using individuals differently from non-pot-using individuals?

    1. If treating them differently is rationally related to a legitimate government interest, they can treat them differently. They don’t hire or at least say they don’t hire pot users to be cops. There they are treating pot users differently from non pot users. They are discriminating against them. But they can do that because it is rationally related to a legitimate government interest.

      The equal protection clause does not mean “the government must treat everyone exactly equal in all cases”. I have spent a huge amount of time and effort trying to get the people on here to understand that but it is just something that is beyond many people’s grasp

      1. Oh, I pretty much grasp *that*, John. It’s “legitimate government interest” I wrestle with.

        1. Well, the people enforcing your laws ideally are not people who have willfully broken them, so I can see the compelling interest wrt his example. What compelling interest government has in accommodating an employee’s belief is not so obvious. And that should apply to Sikhs in the military as well as Christians in a city licensing office.

          1. There are two questions wrt to that: 1) Is there a truly compelling government interest? and 2) Does the accommodation substantially diminish the ability of the government employee to do their job? In the case of Sikhs, I can see making them cut their beards and hair to comply with basic, but allowing them their kirpan throughout. It’s the same with the TSA not allowing kirpans.

      2. The equal protection clause does not mean “the government must treat everyone exactly equal in all cases”. I have spent a huge amount of time and effort trying to get the people on here to understand that but it is just something that is beyond many people’s grasp

        The problem is, and you don’t seem to understand this any better than the people you lecture, the whole notion of protected classes has completely debased the equal protection clause.

        Equal protection says the government may not apply the law unequally. You are right that it does not say “treat everyone exactly equal in all cases”; it also does not say “the government must pay special attention to certain types of unequal treatment”.

        1. AFAIK, the SCOTUS ruling on AA this week reinforced exactly that notion. Some animals are more equal than others.

        2. I understand it perfectly well. Just because I understand what a protected class is doesn’t mean I endorse them.

          Equal protection says the government may not apply the law unequally

          No it doesn’t say that. You don’t seem to understand the issue at all. The government applies laws unequally all of the time. The protection says nothing about how the government applies the law. It says the government cannot deprive you of equal PROTECTION under the law. Protection under the law is not the same as “EQUALITY” of application. The government has to give you the same protection of the law that it gives me or anyone else. That doesn’t mean that the law is equally applied to all of us. It means that when it is applied unequally, it is done so for a legitimate reason and not for a random or illegitimate one.

          1. I get what you are saying, but can you give me an example of what would be considered a legitimate reason?

            1. My example of not hiring pot smoking cops. Or the military not taking fat or out of shape people. Imagine if they passed a law that said fat people can’t get married. That would be a violation of equal protection because what government purpose is served not letting fat people get married? In contrast, telling fat people they can’t join the military is just as discriminatory but okay because having people in the military serves a legitimate government purpose and not letting fat people join rationally furthers that.

              1. Thanks. Those examples are really about hiring practices, not application of laws. I was just curious if there are examples where a law can legitimately be applied unequally.

              2. It doesn’t say they can’t refuse marriage licenses to fatties. It says if they give a marriage license to one pair of fatties, they can’t refuse it to another pair of fatties unless there’s something else distinguishing them under the law (e.g. they’re brother and sister, whereas the first couple was sufficiently unrelated).

                1. No Kbolino. They could not stop giving marriage licenses to fat people in general unless they could show how it was rationally related to a legitimate government interest.

              3. Especially since, if there are no other underlying medical problems disqualifying you from service, most recruiters are willing to work with candidates to get them into military shape, given a pressing need for recruits. A guy I knew in high school who was overweight in high school is now in the Marines, since his recruiter saw his interest and aptitude, and helped him to get into shape.

          2. You are confusing application with text. The text of the law can be all sorts of unequal. The application of that text cannot be.

            The government can’t punish Bob for an act that it refuses to punish Sue for, if their circumstances are otherwise undistinguished by the text of the law.

            1. The government can’t punish Bob for an act that it refuses to punish Sue for

              It most certainly can. It is called prosecutorial discretion. And even if it punished them both, it can punish one much more than the other for the same act. Saying that Bob gets 10 years because he is a previous offender and Sue gets nothing because she is a first time offender for the same act is the unequal application of the law. But as long as the system that produced the unequal application is rational and furthers a legitimate government interest, that is just fine.

              1. It is called prosecutorial discretion

                Prosecutorial discretion can’t be exercised unequally either. The government can’t say “we refuse to prosecute Sue because we like her better than Bob”. The exercise of discretion one way or the other must be justified by the cases and not the persons.

                But as long as the system that produced the unequal application is rational and furthers a legitimate government interest, that is just fine.

                which is just more nonsense not taken from the Constitution but instead invented by Congress and the Courts to do what they want. Who is the arbiter of what’s rational? Whoever is sitting on the bench at the time. What an equal standard!

                1. It is not nonsense at all. If you read equal protection to mean always equal, the government couldn’t function. The whole point of laws is to discriminate against those who don’t follow them. So it doesn’t mean that. It was never intended to mean that. You keep reading “application” instead of “equal protection”. The two terms don’t mean the same thing.

    2. I’m struggling here.

      If telling employees that they can follow certain specified religious beliefs is the government stamp of approval on those beliefs, isn’t telling them that they cannot follow those exact same beliefs a government stamp of disapproval on those beliefs?

      Why is the first government stamp Evil and Bigoted, and the second government stamp Good and Right and Just?

      1. The government said three beliefs — which the law explicitly tied to religion — have received endorsement from the government as legitimate reasons for a government employee to deny performing a governmental service.

        It is not the same as having a generally-applicable requirement that treats ALL religious beliefs equally: if you do not want to provide a government service for any religious reason, then you cannot be a government employee.

        1. It is not the same as having a generally-applicable requirement that treats ALL religious beliefs equally

          A couple of thoughts:

          Just because the belief that gay marriages aren’t valid is a feature of Christianity (for the sake of argument) doesn’t mean a facially neutral law that protects that belief doesn’t apply equally to religious beliefs re: marriage.

          If we say that only a law that treats all religious beliefs equally is valid, does that mean that a single religion that doesn’t share those protected beliefs invalidates the entire law, because that religion doesn’t, in fact, get protection for its beliefs?

          I’m very wary of these kinds of special pleading laws, don’t get me wrong. Its just that you can either have freedom of religion, or a plenary state, but not both. Because a state that can and will regulate anything and everything is going to eventually require that people violate their beliefs. The real problem is that you can’t have a plenary state and freedom of religion, so that any attempt to wall off “free exercise” of religion inevitably requires the state to “establish” religion.

          That’s what we’re seeing here: under a plenary state, you can have free exercise, or you can have no state establishment, but you can’t have both.

      2. Because the government’s main job is to promote rightthink and quell wrongthink.

      3. I understand it as letting no one object due to their beliefs is seen as better than letting everyone object over their beliefs.

        Sort of like calling it “Winter Break” instead of “Christmas Break” so the whole school doesn’t have to close for Diwali, Eid al-Fitr, Roshashanahnahnah, etc, etc ad infinitum.

      4. For example, let’s say that a alternative religion clerk could only perform his/her marriage duties while smoking an enormous joint at the time. That specific religious belief is not protected under Mississippi’s law and the clerk could have been fired.

        Obviously, a law can’t endorse all religious beliefs as reasons to deny government services as that would invite chaos and ridiculous circumstances like I described above (and could also still run afoul of the Establishment Clause).

        1. For example, let’s say that a alternative religion clerk could only perform his/her marriage duties while smoking an enormous joint at the time. That specific religious belief is not protected under Mississippi’s law and the clerk could have been fired.

          Well, no.

          the law would allow him/her to go get someone else to take care of the marriage duties so that he/she wouldn’t have to violate their beliefs to do it.

      5. What SugarFree said. Government employees have to do their job regardless of their personal beliefs. A Quaker working in a state bureau of firearms, for example, would not be able to refuse handing out or working with gun permits and keep their position.

        1. Yet another problem that is, at root, a creation of the plenary state.

          There should be no such thing as gun permits. If you have them, you may find yourself in a situation where requiring a given individual to issue them is a violation of their free exercise of religion. And you’re back in the trap – you can either violate their free exercise, or establish their religion by protecting them from the requirement.

      6. Bingo RC. that is exactly what it is.

      7. “isn’t telling them that they cannot follow those exact same beliefs a government stamp of disapproval on those beliefs?”

        Yeah, buuuut,

        “If telling employees that they can follow certain specified religious beliefs is the government stamp of approval on those beliefs”

        If you’re telling only a handful of certain beliefs that they are permitted to follow those beliefs than you are effectively stamping approval for ONE group to exercise their freedom while denying it to another.

        For example, a Protestant clerk can issue a license two gays getting married, but a Catholic clerk can’t refuse to issue a license to divorcees and a Baha’i clerk can’t refuse to to issue a license to two people marrying without parental consent.

        In all three of the above cases, the clerk is presented with a situation in which they must issue a license for a “marriage” that does NOT fit their own standards or religious beliefs for “marriage”, but only ONE of the three examples is “permitted” by the government to refuse to offer a license. Despite the Catholic and the Baha’is EQUALLY valid objections that the people petitioning THEM for a license are not getting a “true marriage”, THEY don’t get the same rights as someone who wants to reject issuing a license because of gays.

        1. *Protestant clerk can refuse to issue

          Damn English language.

      8. Government employees are perfectly free to believe that gay marriage is wrong. And they are perfectly free to discriminate against gays as a private citizen. They just cannot *act* in a capacity as a government official in a way that treats gay marriage differently.

        When they act in the capacity of a government official, they are acting in the name of the state, and the state may not discriminate.

  6. It’s almost like people don’t really mind gays unless they do all that nasty gay stuff.

    1. Have you ever been to a wedding that wasn’t totally gay?

      1. The only place on earth were they still play disco is at wedding receptions. If that doesn’t make the case that weddings are totally gay nothing will.

      2. Hey! Lots of manly men wear boutonni?res!

      3. Hey, I’ve been to plenty of non-gay places that play YMCA and Time Warp like …

        OK, you have a fair point on that one.

    2. You mean fag shit like getting married and going to the doctor?

      1. No like trolling around town trying to find someone to sue for the crime of hurting your feelings.

      2. What’s gayer than antiquing and buying matching furniture? Marriage is the gayest thing since Epi.

        1. Don’t forget reading. Book learnin’ is for fags.

      3. Dude, you miss more points than Messi.

        1. I expect he’ll snap out of it when the election is over.

        2. So what was the point you were making?

          1. People like to say they are comfortable with gays until gays do things that gays “shouldn’t” do.

            1. Right, like innocuous stuff like getting married and seeking medical services. I…I thought I was riffing on your thing, but I guess I’m so blinded by partisan fervor for whichever side I’m supposed to be in favor of that I can’t think straight.

              1. I see, well my mistake then.

              2. Well now you’re just repeating talking points.

                1. It’s because I’m secretly shilling for the side you hate and have been all along.

  7. All of this forbidding this and requiring that is such bullshit.

    1. “The Republicans tell me what I cannot do, and the Democrats tell me what I must do.”

  8. I’m not seeing a cake angle in this story.

    1. No baking gay wedding cakes* but requiring serving gays. That was in there.

      *which is totally different from baking gay wedding cakes.

  9. I’m sorry, as much as I don’t find government clerks particularly sympathetic subjects, this sounds like it’s fucking retarded. If I’m understanding this correctly, the response says that if the clerk doesn’t want to sign off on the marriage, they’ll find someone who will and it will be just as legitimate. Sorry, that’s not a problem unless you’re a bullying douchebag who gets his or her jollies off making people do things.

    The judge here is a horse’s ass.

    1. No, it’s “If the clerk doesn’t want to sign off on the marriage for SPECIFICALLY one of the GOVERNMENT APPROVED REASONS, then they’ll find someone who will and it will be just as legitimate.”

      If the clerk is say, Catholic, and the people applying to be married are divorcees, thus their union is blasphemous and not a true marriage in the eyes of the Clerk, he is NOT permitted to find someone else to issue the license for HIS objection to the blasphemous marriage isn’t one of the GOVERNMENT APPROVED reasons!!

      The State is effectively picking and choosing here which religious beliefs it wishes to allow the right to object. The Catholic clerk still has to sign off on divorcee marriage, the Baha’i clerk still has to sign off on marriages that lack parental consent, the Hindu clerk still has to sign off on marriages that were arranged without the consultation of a brahman and a star-chart.

      The only PERMITTED religious objections that the State allows are /coincidentally/ the ones that line up with the preferred religion of that state’s occupants.

    2. If there’s a bunch of people who are incapable of performing their official duties as a county clerk for a significant fraction of the population, they should stop being county clerks. That’s not discrimination on the basis of religious belief. If you literally say you’re not going to do the job, you shouldn’t get to keep the job.

  10. Dissent from the SCOTUS majority’s ideology will not be tolerated, ever, at least on “progressive” rulings.

    Exactly what is the harm caused by the Mississippi law?

    1. Nothing really. But Scott would lose a lot of sleep thinking about all of those icky people in Mississippi getting over. so there is that.

  11. God I can’t wait for this LGBTWTF fad to be over.

    1. Invoking a deity? You fucking disgusting hater pig!

    2. I heard on the news they’ve added a couple of new letters in an attempt to be more inclusive. I’ve quite literally lost track.

      1. A lot of places I’ve seen it printed now just put a + on the end, probably when they can’t figure out what letter is supposed to be next.

  12. I now know to three separate people who have lost a toe in a freak accident.

    1. The same toe? I hope it was properly preserved before the next person found it.

      1. Now, they each lost their own toes, you toe commie.

        1. Walter Sobchak: You want a toe? I can get you a toe, believe me. There are ways, Dude. You don’t wanna know about it, believe me.
          The Dude: Yeah, but Walter…
          Walter Sobchak: Hell, I can get you a toe by 3 o’clock this afternoon… with nail polish. These fucking amateurs…

      2. Hold on a second, he never said the toe was attached.

        1. Well it had to be attached to something. Presumably a necklace or keychain.

          1. Severed. Severed from their bodies.

            1. I know a person who lost his whole body and now he’s just a toe. The body was completely severed and now all he is is a toe sitting there.

              Completely changed him, too. Can’t overstate that.

              1. Poor bastard.

              2. If he’s just a toe, wouldn’t he technically be just standing there? Can a toe with no foot stand?

                1. So now you’re going to make fun of his disability? Come out from behind that keyboard and talk shit. He can still kick your ass.

    1. What a surprise, guys still like ogling tits.

      1. Love, not like.

        But yes, same as it ever was.

      2. What a surprise, guys still like ogling tits.

        Yup. Call me back when jealous, bitter, flat-chested women are hiring only less-attractive, flatter-chested, pants-suited women and still successfully doing business.

        Kim Kardashian could read absolutely no news on Rachel Maddow’s show and pull in more straight, female news-watchers than Maddow.

        1. So hiring anyone based even remotely on merit is out of the question? You’re either hiring the hot people or bitterly hiring the uglies?

    2. Out of 200 sales job queries, the woman wearing a low-cut top attracted 62 more interview offers than their more conservatively dressed counterpart. And just in case you’re thinking, Well, maybe that kiiiiiiinda makes sense for sales jobs, since a lower cut top might come across as more youthful and fun and stylish, guess what? The same thing happened with accounting jobs, which you would think would be more conservative: there were 68 more interview offers for the woman in the low-cut top.

      So just to recap: it’s 2016 and women are still being judged more on their looks than their resumes. Cool*.

      *Not cool.

      I’ve asked this question so many times in my checkered career: When, oh when is the hot chick finally going to get a break in the employment game?

      1. Next thing you know they’ll be getting free drinks and a pass on speeding tickets.

      2. So just to recap: it’s 2016 and women are still being judged more on their looks than their resumes.

        If all women are as bad at logic and reasoning as you, how else are we to judge them?

        I also enjoy the picture they used to go along with the story. For the obvious reason, yes, but also because it admits that tits bring attention.

    3. The author’s bio is very revealing…

      Winona Dimeo-Ediger

      Winona is a writer and editor living in Nashville, Tennessee. She keeps an updated list of her top 100 favorite Celine Dion songs on her phone and would be glad to show it to you. Check out her travel blog at

    4. I had a former boss who hired girls based on how hot their FB photo was, then was always surprised to find out that it didn’t translate to them being a responsible, ethical worker.

  13. The law also forbids Mississippi from punishing state employees for refusing to hand out marriage licenses or solemnizing weddings from same-sex couples, but the courts were required to make sure somebody provided the services when needed. And that’s where we hit the problem

    Why does anyone think this is a problem?

    The fundie gets the ability to not violate their beliefs, the gay couple still gets to get gay married, with a state approved license, where is the issue?

    Is it really that it’s only good if people are forced to violate their religious beliefs? Is that where we are? Because that’s what you seem to be demanding here..

    1. Couldn’t agree more. There’s nothing in this that anyone’s rights are in any way being violated by Mississippi. This really is starting to look like idiotic bullying to make “those people” suffer.

      1. If it was private sector, I would be right there with you. But this is government work, and they tried to make a law protecting employees who refuse to do their work based on feelings.

        If the job is handing out marriage licenses, and you refuse to do the job, should they be forced to keep paying you taxpayer dollars for that job?

        1. And if it was doing any damage to anyone, I’d agree with you. But, it’s not. They’re just having someone else sign that one piece of paper. The only motivation I can think of to make that one person sign that piece of paper is spite.

        2. Sorry, FOE. I’m not buying it. Facially neutral laws protecting people from being required to violate their religion aren’t the optimal outcome, but on balance some protection for free exercise is better than none, although it opens its own can of worms.

          The clerks aren’t refusing to do their job. They are doing their job by delegating these licenses to someone else. If the license is issued by their office, their job is done. You don’t have a right to have a particular person issue your license. You have a right to a license. As long as that license gets issued, your rights have been protected.

          This isn’t “separate but equal”. Unlike segregated schooling, which was separate but not equal, you get the exact same license regardless of which individual issues it. While the special sauce of humiliating a slope-browed hillbilly may be of special value, nobody has a right to it.

          1. Consider: if a license signed by a deputy is a violation of your rights, and any additional waiting for a license is a violation of your rights, can clerks ever take a day off?

            Or are we saying that gay couples have a right nobody else has – the right to have the clerk, and only the clerk, sign their license, immediately upon demand?

            1. RC Dean,

              The process of delegation may, in many cases, be time consuming. What if there is nobody in the office that day who is capable of issuing a gay marriage license? Force the gay couple to go home and come back a different day?

              What if it’s not a day, what if it’s an hour, what if it’s 15 minutes?
              Why should the gay couple be inconvenienced in any way? If they are equal citizens, they should be treated equally by the state, and not be forced to wait a minute longer because of some poor bigot’s feelings.

              1. So you’re on board with clerks never taking a day off. Noted.

                1. If a fifteen minute wait is a violation of your rights, can the clerk even take a bathroom break?

                  Because the things you call out as violations of rights can happen to anyone. Even if you say that no waiting, even for fifteen minutes, and only the clerk can sign, is a special privilege of gay people, I think you wind up at the same place, because you never know when a gay couple will walk in.

                  If the rule is no delegation, no waiting, then tell me how a clerk can comply if they take bathroom breaks or vacations.

        3. No. They tried to make a law that RESPECTS (hercule, p.b.u.h.) the first amendment–which does not limit religion in any way, but does limit government.

          The law forbids the state from discriminating against/punishing people because others are offended by their religious beliefs.

        4. Who decides what their job is if it’s not Mississippi? I guess I’m not seeing how it’s their job if the state says it isn’t their job.

      2. I would say that I don’t have a problem in principle if the government service is just as fast for gay marriages as regular marriages. If the gays have to come back a week later for the license, that’s just crap.

        1. Fair point. From what it sounded like, the expectation was that they could easily enough just get someone else in the office to sign. If it is just a means to deny the license then obviously I’m opposed.

          1. Same here. So long as they get the exact same license in the exact same way, I don’t see any violation of rights.

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  15. A question for those contending that clerks should be allowed to refuse to provide marriage licenses to same sex couples: should employees in a state secretary of state’s office be allowed to refuse to process incorporation paperwork, annual reports, change of registered agent forms, etc. for otherwise lawful businesses that they find morally objectionable? If no, how is this different than the same sex marriage license issue; if yes, what happens if no one in the office is willing to perform those services for a particular business (e.g., a notorious strip club)?

  16. Uh, in CASE you didn’t know, Gay Americans are taxpayers, too. We help pay the salaries for these public officials. Why should I have to support a judge or clerk who would deny me and my husband-to-be a marriage license, when we are legally eligible to get one? Would you want your tax dollars subsidizing a public official who discriminates against YOU? I doubt it.

    1. So you are advocating a religious test for government employment? That is unconstitutional itself.

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