Great moments in public service


A lesbian couple went to get a marriage license, something that by now should not be news and is even routinely taking place in the offices of Mike Huckabee’s hero, Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis. But that is not what Samantha Brookover and Amanda Abramovich discovered [link fixed] when they went to the Gilmer County Courthouse in West Virginia.

Samantha Brookover stood crying in Glenville’s Gilmer County Courthouse last week, humiliated on what was meant to be a celebratory occasion.

Brookover and her partner, Amanda Abramovich, wanted a marriage license. They got one, along with an earful from a deputy clerk in the office, who told them that their relationship is wrong and that God will judge them.

Brookover and Abramovich had expected maybe an eye roll or some sign of disgust. They said they weren’t anticipating that they would be told they were “an abomination.”

“It just takes one person to remind you how closed-minded our world is,” Brookover said.

Debbie Allen, the deputy clerk who processed their marriage license, and another deputy clerk who was there, Angela Moore, disputed some of the allegations from the couple and Brookover’s mother, Jill Goff, who also was there. They disagree on how loud Allen was and whether the word “abomination” was used, although Moore said she couldn’t hear everything.

“I was working on what I was supposed to be doing and, honestly, I didn’t care to make eye contact with them,” Moore said.

The clerks don’t dispute that Allen told the couple that what they were doing was wrong and that they would be judged, but they also stressed that they did not view the statement as an “attack.”

“We did not attack them,” Allen said. “We did not yell at them. We were not aggressive with them. I felt I talked nicely to them.”

Allen said she briefly and calmly told the couple what they were doing was wrong and that God would judge them, and then continued assisting them as she would other couples.

“I just told them my opinion,” she said. “I just felt led to do that. I believe God was standing with me and that’s just my religious belief.”

Asked if her words could possibly have been perceived as an attack to someone of another sexual orientation, who has been belittled because of it, Allen said, “Oh, I’m sure.”

Yes, I am sure that she told the couple very nicely that they were doing something wrong and would go to hell for it. How could anyone object to such friendly advice told in a kindly manner by a direct emissary of god who was in fact right there with her?

What on Earth is the matter with these people? Get over it already. Same sex marriage is legal and we are never, ever going back to making it illegal.

Comments

  1. lorn says

    It shouldn’t happen, or be necessary, but it seems like this is the time when all couples need to start recording what happens when having to engage with public officials who are supposed to be neutral. The good news is that most smart phones seem to be capable of recording those things that might need to be reviewed. The days when a bigot could safely express their hate without the risk that it could be made public are fading fast.

    That is, as Martha Stewart says: is a good thing.

  2. says

    “I just told them my opinion,”

    I have lots of opinions about government officials. Does this mean the door is open for me to start walking in and telling them what I think of them?

    If it helps, my nonspecific woo-diety says I should. So do all my employees, because as the source of their paycheck, I ought to be able to control such things.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    I just felt led to do that. I believe God was standing with me …

    But will God feel led to pay her bills while she hunts for another job (one that involves no contact with the public)?

  4. Dave Huntsman says

    As a long-term government employee, it was absolutely wrong – if not illegal – for that woman to proselytize in her official position in the midst of doing her official duties for a citizen. At an absolute minimum, she should be disciplined. (Can you imagine the uproar if I, a government employee who is also an atheist, had, while working with a citizen, lectured them that their positions on teaching creationism in public school science class et al just showed how stupid their religion was, and that they were un-Constitutional and un-American for believing/pushing it? How long before every Christian right group and the Fox False News network called for my dismissal?)

    Dave HUntsman

  5. says

    I was standing in line at a DHS checkpoint in Dallas, once, and commented “wow it’s hot” and one of the checkpoint workers said something to the effect of, “at least it’s not as hot as HELL! which is where a lot of people will be going” and handed me a Jack Chickoid piece of christian propaganda. My instinct was to say ‘thank you’ as I accepted it, but when I saw what it was I kept going with the ‘thank you’ and dropped it in the trash.

    These sorts of things are a problem when you may wonder if your service will be impacted by the other person’s beliefs. Now that I had thrown the tract away was I going to be subjected to additional screening? Or will a couple wanting to get married experience delay as well as just irritation and embarrassment?

  6. moarscienceplz says

    I applaud these two clerks. Nothing is going to diminish the influence of Christianity faster than people who act like they did.

  7. Pierce R. Butler says

    moarscienceplz @ # 8: Nothing is going to diminish the influence of Christianity faster than people who act like they did.

    Indeed. Why haven’t American Atheists and Freedom From Religion Foundation given Kim Davis big awards as the person who’s done more to repel people from Christianism than any American since George W. Bush?

  8. says

    Why haven’t American Atheists and Freedom From Religion Foundation given Kim Davis big awards as the person who’s done more to repel people from Christianism than any American since George W. Bush?

    An “own goal” award would be pretty funny.

    Although, gotta be careful with that stuff. I actually knew someone who was part of the family of someone who won a “darwin award” They were devastated and pissed off that thousands of people all over the internet were falling over laughing about their family member’s death. Although, I admit, it was one of the funnier ones.

  9. StevoR says

    @8. moarscienceplz : Yes that’s kinda true but also think about their victims here and now.

    Think about Samantha Brookover and Amanda Abramovich and what they endured and suffered because of those clerks you’re applauding.

    I’d rather applaud the newly wed couple and wish them every happiness and however bad those clerks make their bigoted beliefs look, I’ll call those a lot of well deserved rude names instead.

  10. Gvlgeologist, FCD says

    “We did not attack them. We did not yell at them. We were not aggressive with them. I felt I talked nicely to them.”

    Seriously, they don’t think that telling someone (no matter how “nice” the tone of voice) that they will be judged and that they’re going to Hell is NOT an attack? How about if I came up to them and in a nice tone of voice told them that they were theocratic bigots little better than ISIS who should have been fired on the spot for making that comment (which was entirely irrelevant to their job and (as noted by Dave Huntsman above) was probably illegal for a government employee)? Would they consider that to not be an attack if I said that “nicely”? Would they not consider that unwanted commentary “aggressive”?

  11. Gvlgeologist, FCD says

    to continue:
    The words “passive-aggressive” come to mind when someone says something assholish in a “nice” tone of voice.

  12. Mano Singham says

    Marcus @#10,

    I’m not a fan of the Darwin awards. While it is ok to make fun of people who do stupid things in a general sense, singling them out by name seems cruel to their loved ones. These are ordinary people, after all.

  13. Numenaster says

    “We did not attack them.”

    “told the couple what they were doing was wrong and that God would judge them”

    Someone evidently thinks that tone of voice is the only thing that makes words an attack. Or would like to pretend that this is what they think.

    Somehow I’m betting that they’d be able to identify the attack in a “Bless your heart.”

  14. Peter the Mediocre says

    So if the couple had said to the clerks “You know that you are violating your oath of office and that people
    who behave that way should not be on the public payroll.” that would not be an attack, and therefore a perfectly acceptable response.

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