Federal court: no conflict between practicing Christian faith, processing same-sex marriage licenses [CWN]


Stating that there is “no objective conflict” between one’s duties as a deputy county clerk and “religious opposition to same-sex marriage,” a federal district court has ruled that an Indiana county was justified in firing a deputy county clerk who declined to process same-sex marriage licenses.



Sorry, judge, but that’s not a determination that you are qualified to make :mad:


Guess the only recourse left is to not work in those jobs.

Thanks for telling us how our religion works.




This sounds very unconstitutional. The state cannot tell religions what to believe. Somebody get a lawyer and sue the government. :mad:


How unsurprising. After all, who is supposed to give people religious instruction other than the government? That’s what this is. :rolleyes:


I think the answer is simple. Don’t take a job that requires you to do things that are against your religion. Someone who believes meat is murder should not work in a butcher shop. Someone that believes blood transfusions are immoral should not work in the ER. Someone that believes that the marriage laws are immoral should not take a job administering those laws.


Please provide a definitive list of what jobs you feel Christians should not be able to take. This list needs to be comprehensive, indicating all jobs which may be morally problematic in the future, not just today.

Did same-sex “marriage” even exist when this person originally took the job? How are Christians supposed to plan a career if when they originally took the job their was no moral conflict, but it arose with time?


I suspect the job requirements had an “and other duties as required” clause.

Here is a definitive list. All jobs.

At some point, there is something in every job that will violate someone’s religious conscious.


Every job might present a conscientious problem to some people, but not to all, and most jobs would present such problems to only a tiny few.

This is really different, though. A very large number of people believe homosexuality is intrinsically evil, and every Christian whose faith is based on the bible is obliged to believe it as part of his faith. Yes, I do realize many rationalize it or cavil with it, but that doesn’t change the fact that this court has decreed a particular interpretation of religion contrary to that which nearly everybody in the U.S. at least purports to have.

It’s one thing for government to say “I don’t care whether this violates your religious convictions or not, I require it of you…” It’s another to say “It is my prerogative to decide what your religion teaches, and neither you, your religious tradition or your religious leaders have any right to claim otherwise…”

What the court did in this case is assert the second proposition. It’s exactly what the Hosanna Tabor case was about. Fortunately, the Supreme Court struck down the government’s assertion in that case. But those who wish to make us “change our religion” will likely never give up in that endeavor.

It’s really what the case against the Little Sisters of the Poor is about. The government says “…doing it this way does not violate your religious beliefs…” while the Little Sisters and many Catholic organizations and bishops argue that it does.


Those that have a problem with issuing same-sex marriage licenses may have never thought when they got the job that same-sex marriage would be legalised and thus licenses needing to be provided.

I believe the answer for this is to have a reasonable accommodation. In terms of US, Kentucky has found such an accommodation, so has North Carolina, which is written about here, and so has Utah, which is reported on here. I’m not sure if any other states have such accommodation. All 50 states should have such accommodation.


Every person needs to decide what jobs that can or cannot take. I am comfortable that doing my job is moral. If someone else is not, then that person needs a new job. If I come to believe that doing my job is not moral, I will get a different job. This is really not complicated.

Are you seriously saying the government should force employers to pay people not to work if that person decides they don’t want to do the job?


Why? Why should any employer be forced to pay someone not to work, or to do only a portion of their job? If you can’t do your job for moral reasons, get another job.


I don’t see why the number of people that feel that way matters. A large number of people find pornography, alcohol and tobacco immoral. But I can’t take a job with a convenience store and refuse to sell those things. If someone can’t do a job for moral reasons, the recourse is to get a new job, not to force the employer to pay for partial work.




The state should not deliberately violate the moral sense of the majority of its people, and particularly not, as here, most of the laws in the country follow Judeo Christian principles and now and then a court decides all on its own to depart from them.

If it’s nothing else, it’s corrupting to the society.

But the greater point is that the court in this case has not, as I mentioned before, announced: “This violates your religious beliefs, but I command you to do it anyway”. Rather, the court is arrogating to itself the power to determine what religious beliefs are or ought to be. That’s a whole different thing.

And that’s exactly the basis on which the Supreme Court ruled against the government in the Hosanna Tabor case.


“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

So the judge is saying that the government can determine what ‘the free exercise’ of a particular religion consists of.

Surprised he took this approach as opposed to deciding whether the task of marriage licenses were critical functions of a job for which a reasonable accommodation could not be found.

As I understand it, that is the requirement for an employer-- provide reasonable accommodation for religious beliefs, which may not be possible if the task which conflicts with the religious belief is critical to the job.


And if you took a job that changed (in this case licensing same-sex marriages), then it’s time to find a new job.

I do think that if an employee’s job responsibilities change (as in the case of licensing same-sex marriages), the employer ought to give the employee a reasonable amount of time for that employee to find another comparably compensated job. If not, then I do think there is grounds for discriminatory dismissal if the employee is let go in an unreasonably short time after the job duties changed.


Yeah, um I think the judge is right here as a matter of law. If a non-discretionary part of a job–especially a job involving wielding the authority of the state–conflicts with our beliefs, we should quit, just as an employee of the liquor board should quit if they convert to Islam.


I agree that the court should not be opining on what violates a person’s religious beliefs. But neither should a court or other government agent be forcing employers to pay people to do only part of a job. If you don’t think you can morally do your job, get a different job. That is how it works for other moral issues, why not for this one?

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