Are Christian clerks giving heterosexual couples a free pass, when it comes to issuing marriage licenses?

I’ve been thinking about the clerks who have refused to issue a marriage license to same gender couples. I admire those who stand up for their beliefs, but I’m struck by the fact that the focus (as far as I know) is solely on same gender couples.

If a clerk is going to refuse to issue a marriage license, because he or she believes the marriage is contrary to Holy Scripture; wouldn’t that clerk also refuse to issue a license to heterosexual couples whose marriage would be considered sin?

For example: What if a man and a woman commit adultery, break up two marriages, and then ask the clerk to issue them a marriage license? Should the clerk deny the license?

Of course, the clerk would have to ask the heterosexual couples about the circumstances that led to their request for a marriage license. This would, of course, be incredibly intrusive, and I am certainly not advocating for such a thing.

I’ve been twice married and twice divorced. I filed for divorce from my first husband. As far as I know, he was not unfaithful. According to Holy Scripture, my second marriage was nothing more than adultery. No clerk questioned my second husband or me to determine if our marriage was considered sin in the eyes of God.

So, just how far should a clerk go in standing up for Christian beliefs? If a clerk is going to refuse to issue a license to a couple on the basis of what the clerk believes to be sin; isn’t it hypocritical to single out same gender couples? Aren’t these same clerks issuing a license to any heterosexual couple without question?

Keep in mind that while same gender marriage is legal, adultery is still a crime in some states, at least that was the case in 2014. Link: wzzm13.com/story/news/2014/04/18/anti-adultery-law-michigan-felony-usa-today/7860985/.

Are Christian clerks giving heterosexual couples a free pass, when it comes to issuing marriage licenses? Should the clerks even be involved in this? What about separation of Church and State? Is a job, in which you are obligated to uphold the law, the right platform for this?

I welcome your thoughts,
Anna

IMHO Gods Law is something we play with it at our own peril. There are manifold Wisdom’s that we are not aware of when God Gives us the Laws for the age we live in.

So much these days a long way for those Laws, thus many Ills of Humanity have resulted.

Regards Tony

That’s not the case at all. It is not that there is a marriage but the marriage is contrary to Scripture; rather it is that there is no marriage at all.

wouldn’t that clerk also refuse to issue a license to heterosexual couples whose marriage would be considered sin?

For example: What if a man and a woman commit adultery, break up two marriages, and then ask the clerk to issue them a marriage license? Should the clerk deny the license?

Of course, the clerk would have to ask the heterosexual couples about the circumstances that led to their request for a marriage license. This would, of course, be incredibly intrusive, and I am certainly not advocating for such a thing.

I’ve been twice married and twice divorced. I filed for divorce from my first husband. As far as I know, he was not unfaithful. According to Holy Scripture, my second marriage was nothing more than adultery. No clerk questioned my second husband or me to determine if our marriage was considered sin in the eyes of God.

So, just how far should a clerk go in standing up for Christian beliefs? If a clerk is going to refuse to issue a license to a couple on the basis of what the clerk believes to be sin; isn’t it hypocritical to single out same gender couples? Aren’t these same clerks issuing a license to any heterosexual couple without question?

Keep in mind that while same gender marriage is legal, adultery is still a crime in some states, at least that was the case in 2014. Link: wzzm13.com/story/news/2014/04/18/anti-adultery-law-michigan-felony-usa-today/7860985/.

Are Christian clerks giving heterosexual couples a free pass, when it comes to issuing marriage licenses? Should the clerks even be involved in this? What about separation of Church and State? Is a job, in which you are obligated to uphold the law, the right platform for this?

I welcome your thoughts,
Anna

There is a difference.

When a couple applies for a marriage license, it is not the clerk’s moral responsibility to investigate the spiritual validity of the marriage, only the legal validity of it (to whatever degree applies in that jurisdiction) as a civil marriage.

A clerk has no way of knowing if a party’s “first” marriage was found to be null and void by a Church tribunal–at least not in the U.S.

So, if we have 2 couples:

Couple A: It’s the bride’s 2nd marriage (husband living), but her first one was found to be null.
Couple B: It’s the bride’s 2nd marriage (husband living), but there was no decree of nullity.

Those 2 scenarios would look exactly the same to a civil marriage clerk.

On the other hand, if 2 women or 2 men attempt a civil marriage, no such marriage exists. There is no marriage. It does not happen. It simply cannot happen. It is what is known as a legal fiction. The state says that there is a “marriage” but the state is speaking an untruth.

Claiming there is no marriage is blurring the line of civil and religious marriage. LEGALLY the same sex couple meet the requirements the STATE requires. Nor is a religious definition considered by the state…per civil law a civil marriage does take place as the couple meet the secular civil requirements to call it a marriage LEGALLY .

The state does not define the civil marriage using your religious beliefs.

Many Christians accept divorce and remarriage, misunderstanding Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:32; 19:9. So, for many Christians the issuing of a marriage license to divorced people is not a matter that would trouble their conscience.

As far as Catholics go, only a ratified and consummated marriage between a baptized man and a baptized woman is indissoluble. Unconsummated marriages and marriages where only one spouse is baptized can be dissolved, freeing the spouses to remarry. So, even for Catholics the issuing of a marriage license to divorced people is not always a matter that would trouble their conscience.

Whether or not the marriage of same gender couples is valid, is not the issue of this thread. I am not arguing for or against a same gender marriage.

I’m asking if Christian clerks are giving heterosexual couples a free pass, when it comes to issuing marriage licenses.

I agree that “it is not the clerk’s moral responsibility to investigate the spiritual validity of the marriage.” Shouldn’t the clerks apply this concept equally to all couples regardless of gender–if the union is legal in our country?

This is precisely the point. The clerk has no way of knowing if a heterosexual couple, applying for a marriage license, is entering into a marriage that is not valid in the eyes of God and is, therefore, sinful.

The clerks who have refused to have their names on a marriage license for a same gender couple, are doing so due to what they believe is going against the Word of God, making it sinful. I wonder how many licenses these same clerks have issued to heterosexual couples for marriages that are contrary to the Word of God. So, are these Christian clerks only worried about what they view to be sinful concerning homosexual couples?

If the law grants a marriage, then they are married by civil union. You can call it “legal fiction,” but it is still legal. The Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that our Constitution guarantees the right to same-sex marriage. We do have separation of Church and State. Sometimes the State makes laws that are against the beliefs of Christians and other religions as well.

Again, my thread question is **Are Christian clerks giving heterosexual couples a free pass, when it comes to issuing marriage licenses?

**I think the answer to that question is yes. The clerks may be giving this free pass to heterosexual couples unknowingly; but they are giving it all the same.

This begs the question: If these Christian county clerks do not want their names on a marriage license that creates a union they view to be against the Word of God; why would they become clerks in the first place? Their names must be on countless marriage licenses that permit couples to enter into marriages that are not valid according to Holy Scripture.

I appreciate you comments!
Anna

Tony,
I appreciate your post. What are your thoughts on the thread question?

Anna

Todd,

I think that is certainly the case in many instances.

However, in the recent high profile case, the Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis, is reportedly “a member of the Apostolic Christian Church which follows a literal interpretation of the Bible.” Link: newsweek.com/kim-davis-supporters-kentucky-jail-369165.

So, wouldn’t a person who follows a “literal translation” of the New Testament be concerned about signing marriage licenses for heterosexuals, knowing that many may be entering into a marriage that is contrary to the Word of God?

Surely, she has read these Scriptures:

Matthew 19:3-9

3 Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?” 4 He answered, “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?” 8 He said to them, “It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. ** 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery.”a]**
Footnotes:

[LIST=1]
*]Matthew 19:9 Other ancient authorities read except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; others add at the end of the verse and he who marries a divorced woman commits adultery
[/LIST]

Mark 10:2-12

2 Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3 He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4 They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” 5 But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. 6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,a] 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
10 Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 1**1 **He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; **** 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
Footnotes:

[LIST=1]
*]Mark 10:7 Other ancient authorities lack and be joined to his wife
[/LIST]

1 Corinthians 7:10-16
10 To the married I give this command—not I but the Lord—that the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does separate, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.
12 To the rest I say—I and not the Lord—that if any believera] has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 And if any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. It is to peace that God has called you.(“https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+corinthians+7&version=NRSVCE#fen-NRSVCE-32759b”)]** 16 Wife, for all you know, you might save your husband. Husband, for all you know, you might save your wife.
Footnotes:

[LIST=1]
*]1 Corinthians 7:12 Gk brother
*]1 Corinthians 7:15 Other ancient authorities read us
[/LIST]
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

So, would you feel comfortable working as a clerk and signing marriage licenses for all heterosexual couples, knowing that many would go against the teachings of the Catholic Church?

Anna

I agree. :thumbsup:

You seem to be suggesting that assuming the best in people is giving them a “free pass.”

Ah, but that word ‘unknowingly’ makes all the difference. As Christians we are to be charitable and presume innocence in doubtful cases, rather than harsh.

In the case of heterosexual marriages, the Catholic Church starts with the presumption that any marriage put before it for investigation is valid and therefore indissoluble, and requires strong evidence that said marriage is not valid before issuing an annulment.

The attitude of the clerk issuing state licenses for such marriages should be at least as charitable.

Homosexual marriages, however, have not even the slightest possibility of being morally or sacramentally valid per traditional.Christian practice. No.charitable presumption of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ or ‘valid until proven otherwise’ can possibly be invoked in such cases as can in the case of at least most heterosexual marriages. So no.justification for the clerk issuing licence to a homosexual couple.

I would think that the clerk is simply looking a couple and saying, "obviously a man cannot marry a man; a woman cannot marry a woman. There is no sexual complementarity, and can never be. The union can never be marital. It doing this she is simply recognizing the facts of nature–biology and anatomy.

Stephen,
The issue I’m raising has nothing to do with assuming the best in people.

It has to do with the fact that there are plenty of heterosexual marriages that would not be valid according to Holy Scripture. Have any Christian county clerks refused to issue even one marriage license to a heterosexual couple?

Regarding same gender marriage, Kim Davis said, it’s “a Heaven or Hell decision.” Link: huffingtonpost.com/entry/kim-davis-gay-marriage_55e5f014e4b0b7a9633a726b

Are there no “Heaven or Hell decisions” at stake in marriages among heterosexuals?

If a person, such as Kim Davis, is willing to go to jail, rather then have her name on on a marriage license she considers to be “against God’s Law,” why is she not concerned about heterosexual marriages (her own included)?

Anna

JimG,
I appreciate your comments, but the purpose of this thread has nothing to do with whether or not a same gender union is “marital” or out of line with nature.

It has to do with the fact that heterosexuals are issued marriage licenses, with no obvious thought or consideration regarding whether or not the marriage is considered sin/against God’s Law.

Thus, the thread question: Are Christian clerks giving heterosexual couples a free pass, when it comes to issuing marriage licenses?

You make a good point, if we were discussing religiously valid and sacramental…,we’re not, we’re discussing can a Christian clerk fix their name to a same sex civil marriage license, their name does not “endorse it” their name indicates that the couple have met the legal requirements.

The other part asked do “straights” get a pass? Evidently so…even though, again, we are not discussing religious requirements or is it valid sacramentally. What is being asked of the clerks, "A DOES the couple applying for a civil marriage meet the legal requirements of civil marriage as set by the State…NO ONE is asking the clerk’s to bless, accept, patio iPad in the marriage, JUST doespecially the couple meet State requirements. Yes, stamp the license then, No, explain why the legal requirements were not met. No one is asking for their religible approval.

The clerks job is to make sure that the couple meet the legal requirements for marriage. It wouldn’t matter if the clerk knew that both the people applying for marriage had been married 5 times before and the one person is a muslim prostitute and the other is christian pederast. To answer your question yes

I understand. Personally I think the best reason for not accepting same sex marriages is that the parties are not man and woman. That has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with anatomy, biology and the history of marriage. But I suppose that from a Christian standpoint, the fact that a same sex couple can never have sex is the most obvious defect.

Hi LilyM,
Thanks for posting your comments. :slight_smile:

I agree that we are “to be charitable and presume innocence in doubtful cases.”

I think the key word here is “investigation.” The Catholic Church does actually investigate. The Catholic Church does not make decisions about marriage “unknowingly.”

Anna

Protestor,

Thank you so much for directly answering the thread question! :smiley:

Anna

JimG,

I appreciate your thoughts, but this really doesn’t answer the thread question. :shrug:

Anna

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