Friday, July 03, 2015


There's been some discussion of county clerks and the granting of marriage licenses, and concern that clerks may be required to do something that is objectionable to their personal beliefs.

Again, I can kinda see both arguments on this: when you sign up for a job, you sign up for all the requirements of the job. If the job changes to include duties you regard as immoral, perhaps it's time to find a new job*. But I also see that that's not really practical (and honestly, all jobs contain objectionable things)

(* For example, pharmacists not wanting to sell birth control pills that a doctor has prescribed)

However, it's also been suggested: well, in counties that have more than one clerk, hopefully one will be okay with issuing same-sex marriage licenses, and so you could just let it be known that same-sex couples come in THEN.

(I also think, just as there exists a list of religious groups - like Quakers, for example - who are "on the list" to be able to claim Conscientious Objector status because of their faith, if they so choose, maybe make a list - Catholics, conservative Jews, Southern Baptists, Church of Christ* - of denominations where gay marriage has not been approved, and if someone is part of that denomination, they can claim Conscientious Objector status to issuing same-sex licenses)

(*I'm guessing on that last one but I bet I'm correct)

And yeah. I can see an objection rising: "But what if there is only one clerk in a small county, and he's a Southern Baptist?" or "What if the only Unitarian clerk works really limited hours?"

And yeah, then it becomes inconvenient for a same-sex couple to get a license. Or they have to drive to another county or even another state.

But you know what? Just as there is no guarantee against one's being offended, there is no guarantee - it's not in the Constitution, for sure - against having to deal with inconvenience.

And you know what? As a single woman who lives alone, inconveniences are a regular part of my life. Yes, you can argue that a marriage license and obtaining it is a big deal, and you can argue it's "humiliating" to have to drive to another county for one.

But it's also humiliating to be without water for a week, because of some plumbing problem and the first day the plumbers are available AND you can be home from work is a week in the future. So you flush toilets with a bucket of water you filled up at work and carried home in the back of your car. And you use baby wipes to bathe. And it IS awful, and it does feel kind of humiliating - and I've been there.

And inconvenient: if my car gets called in for a recall and it takes more than a couple hours to fix, I'm having to call on people from church or colleagues to drive me places. To and from work. To the grocery, if it's an extended thing. And that's inconvenient for both me and them. And it *feels* humiliating to me to have to call people up and ask them for help.

And I live in a small town. There's stuff I use regularly that none of our few local groceries sells. So I have to drive to the next state (where the next town of any size is) and shop for it there. And that's a pain in the neck for stuff I use regularly.

I dunno. There's a point where "offensive to the faith of someone" buts up against "inconvenient to the other" and it seems a little shabby to me to want to cause offense JUST to avoid inconvenience - because an awful lot of us deal with all kind of petty annoying inconveniences on an almost daily basis. (And I would note - if you do it right, you should only ever need ONE marriage license for your entire life, whereas I may have to have extensive work done on my car five our six times during the 10 years I might have it)

No comments: