The Alliance Defending Freedom is not letting having one of their lawyers being arrested for child pornography stop them from pushing their anti-gay agenda on Maine, Maryland and Washington by telling the officials in each state that they can refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. According to the ADF, these officials do not have to ‘violate their faith or conscience’ by issuing the licenses, but can, instead, delegate that to someone else.
The attempt to do this in New York resulted in several such officials losing their jobs.
According to ADF Senior Counsel Austin R. Nimocks “No American should be forced to give up a constitutionally protected freedom, nor should any American be forced to give up his or her job to maintain that freedom. Religious freedom is paramount to every American, including those issuing marriage licenses. They can perform their job without violating their conscience.”
The memos sent out to these officials stated that, given the “recent redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples”, some officials may feel that they should either resign or violate their religious based bigotry. However, the memo insists that the officials can just appoint their responsibilities to their deputies or assistants. The memo does not appear to explain what happens if they cannot find anyone in the given office to carry out those duties given that the official is then passing the buck and asking their deputies and assistants to potentially violated their religious-based bigotry.
Of course, the ADF’s entire point with this is to try and drum up business since they have told these officials that, if they cannot get around the law by handing it off to someone else who might feel pressured into doing the job despite objecting to same-sex unions themselves, they should contact the ADF.
The memos also explain that if the clerks or auditors encounter resistance in their efforts to resolve the religious conflict, they can contact Alliance Defending Freedom for assistance in light of the First Amendment’s protections for the free exercise of religion.
In rural areas, not every single official is going to have an assistant. This was the issue in New York.