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.
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