Tag Archives: Kern County

Marriage Equality: The End Of Marriage?

What we’ve seen over the last few years, as wingnuts stumble to codify discrimination into state constitutions, is that the laws inevitably have adverse benefits well beyond limiting marriage to between a man and a woman.  In Michigan, the state ban on same-sex marriage eliminated domestic partner benefits, for example.  Here in California, because partners will be allowed to marry starting June 17, if the constitutional amendment passes in November it’s completely unclear what would happen to those legal marriages.  But there’s another possibility that would be hilarious if it wasn’t so sad.

Should voters approve the measure, (USC con law expert David B.) Cruz said, offering another potential outcome, it could inadvertently affect traditional marriages. That’s because the amendment would undo only part of the court’s decision — allowing gay couples to marry — but not the rest, which says that same-sex couples cannot be recognized differently than opposite-sex couples, he said.

“If you’ve got those two rules — that you can’t let them marry, but you can’t give different options to gay and straight couples — then one possible outcome, if the amendment were to pass, is that no one could get married in California,” Cruz said.

Some experts found that scenario highly unlikely, saying such a reading of the decision would be much too technical — and cause too much chaos.

I don’t find that to be technical – in fact you would have to give an intellectually dishonest reading of the law NOT to come to that conclusion.

One county is taking this “no more marriages” thing quite literally – and it’s shameful.

Kern County Clerk Ann Barnett has announced that her office will stop performing all weddings a few days before June 17, the date that same-sex couples can legally apply for marriage licenses.

Barnett’s staff processes marriage licenses for hundreds of Kern County residents each year and it will continue to do, for both straight and gay couples, beginning June 17 as required by law, she said in a written statement. But as of June 13, the staff will no longer officiate at civil ceremonies for an extra $30 fee.

Officials cited financial reasons for the decision. But internal memos between a high-ranking official in Barnett’s office and a conservative Christian legal defense fund, published in the Bakersfield Californian this week, indicate that Barnett may have acted on principle rather than for financial reasons.

As long as Barnett is officiating no marriages instead of only straight ones, it’s not discriminatory.  And the same goes for the state, according to the most honest reading of the relevant statutes.

The idiots who think they’re defending marriage by trying to narrow its definition to one man and one woman are actually trying to do nothing but eliminate it.