Missouri judges give up on weddings altogether to avoid ‘tarnishing’ the court by marrying gays
Two Missouri judges have joined the list of public officials refusing to carry out their duties by refusing to perform weddings so they can avoid marrying same-sex couples, the Missourian reports.
Laclede County Associate Circuit judges Larry Winfrey and Steve Jackson said in a joint statement that they “elect to not allow the integrity and respect of your local court to be tarnished by being caught up in the dissention created” by the “divisive” Supreme Court decision. According to the Missourian, they refused to comment further.
According to Missouri law, judges can opt out of performing marriages but can’t discriminate, so if they refuse to marry same-sex couples they must also refuse heterosexual couples, the Missourian reports.
Aside from judges, clerks in at least five other states including Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas have refused to perform same-sex marriages.
Rowan County, Kentucky clerks were caught on viral video rudely turning away David V. Moore and David Ermold, a gay couple seeking a marriage license. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear issued a harsh warning, telling clerks to do their jobs or resign.
In Texas, Joe Stapleton and Jim Cato had to file a federal lawsuit against Hood County Clerk Katie Lang in order to obtain a marriage license, the Dallas Morning News reports.
Van Buren County, Arkansas clerk Pam Bradford vowed to defy the Supreme Court ruling but reversed course Thursday after meeting with an attorney, the Associated Press reports.
“Apparently there’s no way around it,” Bradford told the AP. “I don’t agree with it, but legally we’re going to have to issue them.”