There’s more than just one Kim Davis. In light of the Kentucky county clerk’s return to work after a six-day stint in jail, officials from across the country are boycotting their marriage licensing duties.
Refusing to grant licenses or facilitate ceremonies, these local government workers are prompting a national conversation on individual religious rights, as well as attracting criticism from supporters of same-sex marriage.
North Carolina, for instance, passed a law in June that allows public officials to forgo performing marriage rites on the grounds of religious objections. Since then, 32 magistrates — out of the total 672 — have done so. In McDowell County, all four magistrate judges have recused themselves from granting marriage to all couples. This requires a magistrate from another county to perform the deed three days a week.
In Alabama, 67 counties have stopped issuing marriage licenses, though their defiance began before the Supreme Court ruling in June and before Davis landed in the national spotlight. Under the state’s law, probate judges may issue marriage licenses, but have no obligation to do so.
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