Kentucky Official Refuses To Marry Atheist Couple
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18-07-2016, 01:31 AM
RE: Kentucky Official Refuses To Marry Atheist Couple
I'd think the 14th Amendment argument would be regnant here, too, given that the judge is on the state payroll.
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18-07-2016, 02:29 AM
RE: Kentucky Official Refuses To Marry Atheist Couple
(17-07-2016 10:18 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  The point is that under Kentucky law, not all discrimination is illegal, and that this type of discrimination, by this person, in the vagueness of the role he is in when using his marriage powers, appears like it falls in the "legal" category rather than the "illegal" category.
Living in a secular country—and one where all forms of discrimination are outlawed by Federal legislation—didn't realise that an American state, such as Kentucky, is called the "redneck" state for a valid reason.

Q: What is the definition of safe sex down in Kentucky?
A: Placing signs on the animals that kick. Tongue

Quote:My own stance on marriage is complicated by the degree to which I think government should get out of the business [...]

In Australia, the government has to get involved because of state financial issues such as taxation, child welfare, disability insurance, schooling, medical expenses, unemployment benefits etc. These are all affected directly by one's marital status. If this judge refused to marry an atheist couple here, then he'd immediately be facing a sanction by the Equal Opportunities ombudsman.

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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18-07-2016, 07:40 AM
RE: Kentucky Official Refuses To Marry Atheist Couple
An Open Letter to Judge Hollis Alexander.


Dear Judge Alexander.


Nobody's impressed.

You're a cunt.


Thank you for your regard in this matter.

.......................................

The difference between prayer and masturbation - is when a guy is through masturbating - he has something to show for his efforts.
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18-07-2016, 07:44 AM (This post was last modified: 18-07-2016 07:54 AM by Reltzik.)
RE: Kentucky Official Refuses To Marry Atheist Couple
(18-07-2016 02:29 AM)SYZ Wrote:  
(17-07-2016 10:18 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  The point is that under Kentucky law, not all discrimination is illegal, and that this type of discrimination, by this person, in the vagueness of the role he is in when using his marriage powers, appears like it falls in the "legal" category rather than the "illegal" category.
Living in a secular country—and one where all forms of discrimination are outlawed by Federal legislation—didn't realise that an American state, such as Kentucky, is called the "redneck" state for a valid reason.

Because there's a lot of farmers who get sunburned necks. =P

Rights are recognized very slowly in American democracy, because the founders thought that putting the brakes on pretty much everything and creating a sea of competing authorities was the way to keep government stable and stop it from being a tyranny. The social conservatives get a vote just like everyone else... and usually more of a vote, since they're the ones with rights... and expanding rights to people that didn't have them back in 1787 basically requires building up a huge popular groundswell, far more than a majority, of people who ALREADY have rights and are in favor of expanding them. When it does go through it's usually a kluge, with state laws being overidden by federal laws and the exact degree to which that happens being a can kicked down the road for a few decades until the courts get to decide. Couple that with a culture with a long history of revivalism -- that is, every 80 years or so there's a movement in which half the country finds religion, usually socially conservative religion -- and it's like pulling teeth sometimes.

(18-07-2016 02:29 AM)SYZ Wrote:  Q: What is the definition of safe sex down in Kentucky?
A: Placing signs on the animals that kick. Tongue

I wouldn't care to make assumptions about Kentucky's literacy rate. EDIT: Or ability to correctly interpret picture signs.
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26-07-2016, 11:07 PM
RE: Kentucky Official Refuses To Marry Atheist Couple
Claiming all ignorance of both American federal and state law, and only using the information provided by reading this thread.

It would seem that the Judge in question has done nothing legally wrong.

The question that must be asked is whether he is refusing to marry the atheist couple. More specifically, is he refusing to issue a marriage certificate. That was the problem with the other lady. She would not issue the actual certificate, which makes you married by U.S. law.

The problem is that the judge refused to change his language for the ceremony. Since a ceremony is not a necessary element in being legally recognized as being married, he is also under no obligation to perform the ceremony. He is not interfering with the couple's right to get married, only upon their choice of how they want to be married.

Also to use a reduction ad absurdam argument, if a couple can dictate how a minister performs a ceremony, and we were to make the official perform the ceremony by law, then it would theoretically mean that the judge would be required to perform a clown wedding where he has to honk his nose when the bride and groom kiss.

The other thing to bring up is that it seems as though marrying people is not actually part of his job description but a perk. In a similar way to how Captains used to be able to marry people on their ship. They were never required to marry anyone but they had that ability.

So while he might be legally bound to issue the certificate, I don't believe anyone should be forced to perform the ceremony against their will.

I'm homophobic in the same way that I'm arachnophobic. I'm not scared of gay people but I'm going to scream if I find one in my bath.

I'm. Also homophobic in the same way I'm arachnophobic. I'm scared of spiders but I'd still fuck'em.
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26-07-2016, 11:25 PM (This post was last modified: 27-07-2016 02:04 AM by Chas.)
RE: Kentucky Official Refuses To Marry Atheist Couple
(26-07-2016 11:07 PM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  Claiming all ignorance of both American federal and state law, and only using the information provided by reading this thread.

It would seem that the Judge in question has done nothing legally wrong.

But he has by imposing his religious beliefs on what is a civil matter.

Quote:The question that must be asked is whether he is refusing to marry the atheist couple. More specifically, is he refusing to issue a marriage certificate. That was the problem with the other lady. She would not issue the actual certificate, which makes you married by U.S. law.

The problem is that the judge refused to change his language for the ceremony. Since a ceremony is not a necessary element in being legally recognized as being married, he is also under no obligation to perform the ceremony. He is not interfering with the couple's right to get married, only upon their choice of how they want to be married.

He is supposed to be the civil i.e. non-religious alternative.

Quote:Also to use a reduction ad absurdam argument,

reductio ad absurdum

Quote:if a couple can dictate how a minister performs a ceremony,

He is not a minister.

Quote:and we were to make the official perform the ceremony by law, then it would theoretically mean that the judge would be required to perform a clown wedding where he has to honk his nose when the bride and groom kiss.

You have it backwards. They are not telling him to do anything that is not already a matter of course for a civil marriage.

Quote:The other thing to bring up is that it seems as though marrying people is not actually part of his job description but a perk. In a similar way to how Captains used to be able to marry people on their ship. They were never required to marry anyone but they had that ability.

Nope. It's part of his duties.

Quote:So while he might be legally bound to issue the certificate, I don't believe anyone should be forced to perform the ceremony against their will.

Yes, they should when they are government employees.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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26-07-2016, 11:35 PM
RE: Kentucky Official Refuses To Marry Atheist Couple
Do the ceremony etc, then go to Vegas and get married by Elvis Smile I had a stats prof who did that. Very much a larger than life guy... he said they had a drive-thru marriage place set up, although he went with a (slightly) more traditional option.

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26-07-2016, 11:49 PM
RE: Kentucky Official Refuses To Marry Atheist Couple
(26-07-2016 11:25 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(26-07-2016 11:07 PM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  Claiming all ignorance of both American federal and state law, and only using the information provided by reading this thread.

It would seem that the Judge in question has done nothing legally wrong.

But he has by imposing his religious beliefs on what is a civil matter.

Quote:The question that must be asked is whether he is refusing to marry the atheist couple. More specifically, is he refusing to issue a marriage certificate. That was the problem with the other lady. She would not issue the actual certificate, which makes you married by U.S. law.

The problem is that the judge refused to change his language for the ceremony. Since a ceremony is not a necessary element in being legally recognized as being married, he is also under no obligation to perform the ceremony. He is not interfering with the couple's right to get married, only upon their choice of how they want to be married.

He is supposed to be the civil i.e. non-religious alternative.

Quote:Also to use a reduction ad absurdam argument,

reductio ad absurdum

Quote:if a couple can dictate how a minister performs a ceremony,

He is not a minister.

Quote:and we were to make the official perform the ceremony by law, then it would theoretically mean that the judge would be required to perform a clown wedding where he has to honk his nose when the bride and groom kiss.

You have it backwards. They are not telling him to do anything that is not already a matter of course for a civil marriage.

Quote:The other thing to bring up is that it seems as though marrying people is not actually part of his job description but a perk. In a similar way to how Captains used to be able to marry people on their ship. They were never required to marry anyone but they had that ability.

Nope. It's part of his duties.

Quote:So while he might be legally bound to issue the certificate, I don't believe anyone should be forced to perform the ceremony against their will.

Yes, they should when they are a government employee.

Ya I know he's not a minister, I was to lazy to go back and change it and I know it's reductio. I'm just really fucking lazyBig Grin

So my question is, what is involved in a civil marriage ceremony? I just figured you had to show up at the court room and sign some papers. I didn't think the judge would have to do anything other than sign his name at the bottom.

I'm homophobic in the same way that I'm arachnophobic. I'm not scared of gay people but I'm going to scream if I find one in my bath.

I'm. Also homophobic in the same way I'm arachnophobic. I'm scared of spiders but I'd still fuck'em.
- my friend Marc
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27-07-2016, 12:08 AM
RE: Kentucky Official Refuses To Marry Atheist Couple
(26-07-2016 11:07 PM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  Claiming all ignorance of both American federal and state law, and only using the information provided by reading this thread.

It would seem that the Judge in question has done nothing legally wrong.

The question that must be asked is whether he is refusing to marry the atheist couple. More specifically, is he refusing to issue a marriage certificate. That was the problem with the other lady. She would not issue the actual certificate, which makes you married by U.S. law.

The problem is that the judge refused to change his language for the ceremony. Since a ceremony is not a necessary element in being legally recognized as being married, he is also under no obligation to perform the ceremony. He is not interfering with the couple's right to get married, only upon their choice of how they want to be married.

Also to use a reduction ad absurdam argument, if a couple can dictate how a minister performs a ceremony, and we were to make the official perform the ceremony by law, then it would theoretically mean that the judge would be required to perform a clown wedding where he has to honk his nose when the bride and groom kiss.

The other thing to bring up is that it seems as though marrying people is not actually part of his job description but a perk. In a similar way to how Captains used to be able to marry people on their ship. They were never required to marry anyone but they had that ability.

So while he might be legally bound to issue the certificate, I don't believe anyone should be forced to perform the ceremony against their will.

I'll correct you on several points.

First, judges don't issue marriage licenses. That's done by local bureaucracy. County clerks, in the case of Kentucky. However, marriage licenses aren't valid as issued. They must first be executed by an authorized individual -- "solemnized" is the word used in Kentucky law -- before the marriage becomes official. In other words, the license ALLOWS the couple to get married (usually with a minimal background check to make sure that, say, both are of age and they're not siblings), but the solemnizer actually marries them. Under Kentucky law, the only people allowed to solemnize marriages are ministers (or pastors, priests, whatever you call them), congregations/churches/whatever that don't have ministors/pastors/priests/whatever, and judges.

Kim Davis, a Kentucky counter clerk and 15-minutes-of-fame poster girl for tearing down the wall between church and state, got in trouble for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples when the courts (right up to the Supreme Court) had already ruled that the states, all of them, were required to let them marry. Kentucky law said, and still says, that same-sex marriages are not only not a right but illegal, but the federal courts overrode that law, ruling that Kentucky did not have the authority to enforce it because it violated individual civil rights. (Or maybe she was refusing to issue them to everyone so she didn't have to issue them to gay people? I forget.) She was imprisoned for a few days for contempt of a court order and eventually caved and let an assistant do it, satisfying the requirement that the licenses be issued while keeping her own hands, erm, clean, a solution that satisfied exactly zero people but at least let the marriage licenses be issued.

This case with the judge is different in many respects. First -- and this is something that I was arguing, and is debatable -- there's the question of how much that is a right of the judge rather than the duty. In Kim Davis's case, it was clearly a duty. Marriage is a fundamental right subject to some reasonable regulation and delays, which includes things like paying some fees and doing paperwork but does NOT allow a clerk to refuse to issue licenses at all. Second, the judge was willing to solemnize the marriage... he just wasn't willing to customize the ceremony by removing the god language. (And it's his ceremony. There's no official ceremony, just the one he uses. He could just sign the paper, collect signatures from everyone else, and say it's done if he wanted.)

Another factor is the category of protection afforded the victims in these respective cases. It took a very long and convoluted process -- that was almost as much political and social as legal -- to establish that the right to marry (already in place) extended to same-sex couples as well as all others. By and large, federal law does not forbid discrimination against the LGBT community in... well... anything. They can kicked out of their homes, fired, refused service, be denied access to governmental services if the official has even an ounce of discretionary power in their case, even refused psychiatric or medical care. Some states offer these protections in lieu of the federal government stepping in, and some don't. Kentucky doesn't.

In contrast, freedom of religion and barring the establishment or persecution of religion is one of the longest standing rights in this nation. People are allowed to hold whatever stance they want on whatever religious stance they want, and the government may not punish them for it, period. Similarly, the government may not show preference to people of one set of convictions on religious subjects over another, or preferentially put impediments in the way, or.... lots of barriers. Even private entities are subject to a lot of anti-discrimination laws as employers, open-to-the-public busineses, and so on. Even when there's a sensible reason for having something discriminatory, there is a requirement to make reasonable accommodations whenever possible. It gets complicated, but the bottom line is that religious discrimination is something the government can't do.

So the question is, in what persona is the judge acting when he refuses to modify his service. If he is acting as part of the government in his role as judge, then as such he is required to make a reasonable accommodation for the religion of the couple, which changing the service would count as. Otherwise it establishes a single religion as endorsed by the government and persecutes everyone not a member of it, which violates the First Amendment of the federal Constitution. (Which is a HUGE one. People care about it, unlike, say, the Third Amendment.) If, however, he is in the role of a private citizen with the power to marry... and if he is not in the role of an open-to-the-public business... then he is not. At least, that's my opinion. I was debating this a lot with everyone else.

This contrasts strongly with ministers in two ways. First, the ministers are not part of the government and so aren't affected by the First Amendment and its limitations on government's ability to establish or persecute on religious grounds. And second, most of the laws about private entitites providing equal access and not discriminating don't apply to churches, who may discriminate on the basis of religion. While this is common-sense in some ways (not hiring a Muslim to fill the role of head pastor in a Christian church, for example), it causes a lot of problems in others (not hiring the Mulsim to be a janitor). That's an argument for another time. In short, private ministers and judges are two very different animals under American law.

But another significant question is how much the state of Kentucky is on the hook for this, because judges are the only possibly-secular option for solemnizing a marriage under Kentucky law. Even if -- especially if -- this judge is not required to modify how he performs his service, Kentucky may be in major violation of the First Amendment by essentially forcing everyone, even atheists, who want to get married to go through religious services. If even the secular option of judges can't be relied upon to make reasonable accommodations, then religion has been established as effectively holding a monopoly over marriage (a fundamental right) and the government is excessively entangled in it, which is a major civil rights issue. Regardless of who's actually at fault here, be it the judge or the state government, someone has screwed atheists over in a way that is HUGELY illegal. (I suspect it's the state and that the best course of action is to force the state to expand its laws to include explicitly secular options, but again that was a point of debate.)
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27-07-2016, 12:32 AM
RE: Kentucky Official Refuses To Marry Atheist Couple
(27-07-2016 12:08 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  
(26-07-2016 11:07 PM)TarzanSmith Wrote:  Claiming all ignorance of both American federal and state law, and only using the information provided by reading this thread.

It would seem that the Judge in question has done nothing legally wrong.

The question that must be asked is whether he is refusing to marry the atheist couple. More specifically, is he refusing to issue a marriage certificate. That was the problem with the other lady. She would not issue the actual certificate, which makes you married by U.S. law.

The problem is that the judge refused to change his language for the ceremony. Since a ceremony is not a necessary element in being legally recognized as being married, he is also under no obligation to perform the ceremony. He is not interfering with the couple's right to get married, only upon their choice of how they want to be married.

Also to use a reduction ad absurdam argument, if a couple can dictate how a minister performs a ceremony, and we were to make the official perform the ceremony by law, then it would theoretically mean that the judge would be required to perform a clown wedding where he has to honk his nose when the bride and groom kiss.

The other thing to bring up is that it seems as though marrying people is not actually part of his job description but a perk. In a similar way to how Captains used to be able to marry people on their ship. They were never required to marry anyone but they had that ability.

So while he might be legally bound to issue the certificate, I don't believe anyone should be forced to perform the ceremony against their will.

I'll correct you on several points.

First, judges don't issue marriage licenses. That's done by local bureaucracy. County clerks, in the case of Kentucky. However, marriage licenses aren't valid as issued. They must first be executed by an authorized individual -- "solemnized" is the word used in Kentucky law -- before the marriage becomes official. In other words, the license ALLOWS the couple to get married (usually with a minimal background check to make sure that, say, both are of age and they're not siblings), but the solemnizer actually marries them. Under Kentucky law, the only people allowed to solemnize marriages are ministers (or pastors, priests, whatever you call them), congregations/churches/whatever that don't have ministors/pastors/priests/whatever, and judges.

Kim Davis, a Kentucky counter clerk and 15-minutes-of-fame poster girl for tearing down the wall between church and state, got in trouble for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples when the courts (right up to the Supreme Court) had already ruled that the states, all of them, were required to let them marry. Kentucky law said, and still says, that same-sex marriages are not only not a right but illegal, but the federal courts overrode that law, ruling that Kentucky did not have the authority to enforce it because it violated individual civil rights. (Or maybe she was refusing to issue them to everyone so she didn't have to issue them to gay people? I forget.) She was imprisoned for a few days for contempt of a court order and eventually caved and let an assistant do it, satisfying the requirement that the licenses be issued while keeping her own hands, erm, clean, a solution that satisfied exactly zero people but at least let the marriage licenses be issued.

This case with the judge is different in many respects. First -- and this is something that I was arguing, and is debatable -- there's the question of how much that is a right of the judge rather than the duty. In Kim Davis's case, it was clearly a duty. Marriage is a fundamental right subject to some reasonable regulation and delays, which includes things like paying some fees and doing paperwork but does NOT allow a clerk to refuse to issue licenses at all. Second, the judge was willing to solemnize the marriage... he just wasn't willing to customize the ceremony by removing the god language. (And it's his ceremony. There's no official ceremony, just the one he uses. He could just sign the paper, collect signatures from everyone else, and say it's done if he wanted.)

Another factor is the category of protection afforded the victims in these respective cases. It took a very long and convoluted process -- that was almost as much political and social as legal -- to establish that the right to marry (already in place) extended to same-sex couples as well as all others. By and large, federal law does not forbid discrimination against the LGBT community in... well... anything. They can kicked out of their homes, fired, refused service, be denied access to governmental services if the official has even an ounce of discretionary power in their case, even refused psychiatric or medical care. Some states offer these protections in lieu of the federal government stepping in, and some don't. Kentucky doesn't.

In contrast, freedom of religion and barring the establishment or persecution of religion is one of the longest standing rights in this nation. People are allowed to hold whatever stance they want on whatever religious stance they want, and the government may not punish them for it, period. Similarly, the government may not show preference to people of one set of convictions on religious subjects over another, or preferentially put impediments in the way, or.... lots of barriers. Even private entities are subject to a lot of anti-discrimination laws as employers, open-to-the-public busineses, and so on. Even when there's a sensible reason for having something discriminatory, there is a requirement to make reasonable accommodations whenever possible. It gets complicated, but the bottom line is that religious discrimination is something the government can't do.

So the question is, in what persona is the judge acting when he refuses to modify his service. If he is acting as part of the government in his role as judge, then as such he is required to make a reasonable accommodation for the religion of the couple, which changing the service would count as. Otherwise it establishes a single religion as endorsed by the government and persecutes everyone not a member of it, which violates the First Amendment of the federal Constitution. (Which is a HUGE one. People care about it, unlike, say, the Third Amendment.) If, however, he is in the role of a private citizen with the power to marry... and if he is not in the role of an open-to-the-public business... then he is not. At least, that's my opinion. I was debating this a lot with everyone else.

This contrasts strongly with ministers in two ways. First, the ministers are not part of the government and so aren't affected by the First Amendment and its limitations on government's ability to establish or persecute on religious grounds. And second, most of the laws about private entitites providing equal access and not discriminating don't apply to churches, who may discriminate on the basis of religion. While this is common-sense in some ways (not hiring a Muslim to fill the role of head pastor in a Christian church, for example), it causes a lot of problems in others (not hiring the Mulsim to be a janitor). That's an argument for another time. In short, private ministers and judges are two very different animals under American law.

But another significant question is how much the state of Kentucky is on the hook for this, because judges are the only possibly-secular option for solemnizing a marriage under Kentucky law. Even if -- especially if -- this judge is not required to modify how he performs his service, Kentucky may be in major violation of the First Amendment by essentially forcing everyone, even atheists, who want to get married to go through religious services. If even the secular option of judges can't be relied upon to make reasonable accommodations, then religion has been established as effectively holding a monopoly over marriage (a fundamental right) and the government is excessively entangled in it, which is a major civil rights issue. Regardless of who's actually at fault here, be it the judge or the state government, someone has screwed atheists over in a way that is HUGELY illegal. (I suspect it's the state and that the best course of action is to force the state to expand its laws to include explicitly secular options, but again that was a point of debate.)

Thank you for clearing that up. it is very much appreciated. Question, is he refusing to do a straight solemnization, as in just a simple sign here solemnization, or is he refusing to participate in an actual ceremony?

I'm homophobic in the same way that I'm arachnophobic. I'm not scared of gay people but I'm going to scream if I find one in my bath.

I'm. Also homophobic in the same way I'm arachnophobic. I'm scared of spiders but I'd still fuck'em.
- my friend Marc
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