Refusing to Sign “Gay Marriage” Certificate, “First Things Article” and Ed Peter’s Comments

by Steve Ray on September 5, 2015

Dr. Ed Peter’s, Canon Lawyer writes,

Rusty Reno has a fine essay over at First Things addressing the Kim Davis matter. I differ, however, with one paragraph therein. Reno writes: When the Supreme Court issued its decree, American civil law ceased to define marriage and instead became a law of civil unions, with the word “marriage” now having no real meaning. With that sort of reasoning, I might be able to wiggle my way toward signing licenses that say “marriage” but really mean “civil union.”

  I wish the Supreme Court had only enshrined same-sex civil unions in law; such a ruling we might have lived with. But that is not what the Court did. Instead five justices imposed on marriage (true marriage, natural marriage, traditional marriage, whatever pleonastic phrase one wishes to use) the lie that marriage includes the union of two persons of the same sex. 
This judicially imposed lie is not a ‘little white lie’ that might allow one to hide a surprise birthday party, it is not a ‘public figure lie’ (half of which aren’t true in the first place), and it is not even a ‘planted lie’ designed to deceive military enemies or dangerous criminals. Instead, the Court has published a naked, gross falsehood that tears simultaneously at the fabric of law, language, family, and society.

  The word marriage has, and will always have, an objectively true meaning—no matter how many times it has been degraded by sinful societies (usually by its legal institutions but more lately by its mass media) and by many recalcitrant individuals (including some religious leaders). Justice Kennedy’s atrocious prose in Obergefell can no more deprive marriage of its meaning than, say, Barney’s insipid theme song (“I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family”) can deprive family of its meaning. 
Instead, Kennedy the Judge and Barney the Dinosaur teach something seriously false about marriage and family. But while Barney’s lyrics simply make one queasy, Kennedy’s words are now the pretext to throw people who do not accept his lie into jail.

The actual text of whatever document one is called upon to sign or certify is crucial to determining one may sign or certify it. I’ve not seen a Kentucky marriage license and so defer to those who have. But this much is certain: any document that declares that two people of the same sex to be married, one cannot sign or certify.
With that caveat in mind, again, I recommend reading Reno’s important essay.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

John Denzer September 5, 2015 at 12:15 PM

JMJ Did another Christian sign it? I think that might be part of the problem. Obama looks to dissenting Catholics to justify his decisions. Supreme Court as well. Just look for a Christian that will do it, and it proves all the rest wrong, or at least hurts our cause. I believe St. Thomas More said it best when he said; “I call you to witness that I die the King’s loyal servant, but God’s first.”

Michael McManus September 5, 2015 at 3:07 PM

I think this clerk is valiant… to a point. She is a bad witness to Christianity because she is a hypocrit. She has been married 4 times, she is plenty eager to ignore the word of the Word when it ia convinient to her, but not to someone else.

Now, in my opinion, it is not right for her to sign the certificate, but the State is not Catholic, nor even Christian. The deep issue at here is this: does anyone’s rights trump anothers? If so, how do we respond to a Muslim who wants to force Shiria law onto us using the First Amendment. We need to be very careful in how we approach this issue.

I feel, again in my own opinion, the only two options as Christians that we have are to Evangelize people and at the same time not participate in the World when it intrudes on the faith. In this clerks case I believe the right decision would be to resign. By living exemplary Christian lives and suffering for the Lord we can accomplish much more than an endless series of court battles. We should mimic the ancient martyrs and sing hyms of joy as we are being persecuted. The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church.

Suzanne Beck September 5, 2015 at 6:30 PM

I don’t call someone a ‘hypocrite’ because they have sinned in the past, Michael McManus. YOU are completely sinless to be able to do that? She freely admits that she’s made mistakes and that is the beauty of God’s mercy and grace. What she is doing is called civil disobedience and it’s what you do when God’s law’s are contrary to ‘laws’ that man has made. If she resigned, she would do it privately and no one would know that she is standing up for her faith. By spending time in jail (as most apostles did), she is showing the world what it really means to be a Christian, courageously standing up for your beliefs.

Michael McManus September 6, 2015 at 11:03 PM

How does my sinning or not have anything to do with this conversation. I am a sinner and I freely admit it. Let’s deal with the charge of hypocrisy. She has been married four times. She obviously does not care for the inconvenient (no divorce) rules on marriage that Jesus (the head guy Himself) put in place, while being more than happy to make a spectacle of herself saying it’s immoral for her to allow Homosexual to wed. That’s my idea of being a hypocrite. For additional food for thought: you think she denied a straight couple that had been married more than once? Probably not, again hypocrisy.

Now let’s deal with the rights issue. She works for a secular institution. She was elected, and took and oath, to follow the rules of the State. Her job now conflicts with faith. Like I mentioned in my above post her religious rights (secular First Amendment) do not allow her to impose those on other people. She does NOT have to work for the State, nor should she in this case. If a Muslim judge started fining you for not wearing a hibjab you wound probably object, but he would be following “God’s Law”.

Again, like I said in my previous post, the way to save souls is not to fight this in court, but to go out and convert people to the Lord. Let’s face it, the current state of affairs is our fault. We have made to many excuses for ourselves, allowing straight couples to bend theo rules (hypocrisy again my how this keeps showing up). If this is going to be fixed we need to take a good hard look at our own inner Church culture, correct our mistakes, and go and evangelize again. Sitting in a jail cell with four wedding rings pouting about our job description is going to get us nowhere.

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