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Same-Sex Marriages Still Face Opposition in MD

Some deputy clerks in St. Mary's County have asked to be excused from performing gay marriages. No Anne Arundel County employees have come forward.

As circuit courts across Maryland prepare for the first same-sex couples to wed, some public employees are asking to be excused from performing the ceremonies.

Deputy clerks in St. Mary's County have asked to be excused citing their religious opposition to gay marriage, according to The Washington Examiner.

Circuit Court Clerk Joan Williams told The Examiner that she decided to excuse those employees from performing any marriage ceremonies, saying she respects their decision.

Maryland voters upheld a law legalizing gay marriage on Nov. 6. The law goes into effect on Jan. 1, but Circuit Courts across Maryland will be closed. The first time same-sex couples will be able to wed at the courthouses will be on Jan. 2.

None of the eight employees who perform marriages at the Anne Arundel Circuit Court House in Annapolis have asked for exemptions from their marriage duties, Clerk Robert Duckworth said.

"No one has officially made that request to me," Duckworth said. "As far as I know that’s not happening in the Anne Arundel Circuit Court."

Patch was unable to reach circuit court clerks in Baltimore County or Baltimore City.

While Anne Arundel County employees appear on board, the first couples to the courthouse on Jan. 2 may large, loud crowds.

The controversial Westboro Baptist Church announced plans to protest outside of the court on Jan. 2. Area resident Christian Conover quickly organized a counter protest that has 143 people signed up as attending as of Friday afternoon.

Annapolitans supported same-sex marriage by 61 percent, which is higher than both Anne Arundel County and Maryland where approval for the law was 53 percent and 52 percent respectively.

One local opponent of same-sex marriage has taken a significant financial hit since the law passed.

Matt Grubbs owns the Annapolis-based trolley company called Discover Annapolis Tours. When the law passed, he closed the wedding part of his business—.

Grubbs told Patch that his attorney advised him to do so because he could be sued for refusing services to same-sex couples.

"We would love to keep it open because a lot of people get engaged over Thanksgiving and Christmas and then call us," Grubbs told Patch. "We hope to get back into it if we can get a religious exemption."

Whether the 2013 General Assembly will take up Grubb's wish for an amendment to the same-sex marriage law remains to be seen.

See also:

  • Same-Sex Couples Eligible for Joint Tax Returns
  • Same Sex Couples Register to Marry in Annapolis
  • Same-Sex Couples Can Now Obtain Marriage Licenses
  • Religious Wedding Vendor Seeks Exemption for Gay Marriages
  • Annapolis Supported Same-Sex Marriage, DREAM Act
  • Maryland Voters Approve Same-Sex Marriage
Steven Conn December 31, 2012 at 01:29 PM
If they are PAID by the public, they need to serve the PUBLIC, and leave their personal opinions of who should get this, or who should get that at home, and FOLLOW THE LAW. If they can't uphold the law in their capacity as a "public servant" they need to find a new job where they may apply their views in choosing who to serve, and who They won't serve. Are they also excused from performing Ceremonies for Aetheists? Muslims? It's even more scary that A ranking official of the Courts, Joan Williams is excusing subordinates, and directly violating EVERY courts charge of "Equal Justice Under the LAW." She should be charged with Contempt of Court.
Kate lesny December 31, 2012 at 04:43 PM
I find it hilarious that the owner of a trolley business wants a "religious Exemption". Good luck with that, pal. Suck it up and follow the law.
Leah Campbell December 31, 2012 at 05:57 PM
If I refused to do my job, I'd be fired. The fact that this Joan Williams is allowing religious views to impact a job that is paid for by tax dollars would seem to be a violation of the separation of church and state.
J. Patrick Peters January 01, 2013 at 01:27 AM
People who are paid by the taxpayers should be required to fullfill the duties of their job or find a new one. There are lots of things in my job description that I don't like to do but I am paid to do them. What other duties will Ms. Williams let them avoid doing if they just complain that it is against their "religious" beliefs. The law is the law. Obey it or quit - or get fired.

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