Thursday, June 12, 2008

More on Same-Sex Marriage in Rural California

Here's what the New York Times is reporting tonight. The point is similar to that made in the California Report this morning, about Kern and Butte Counties, along with Merced County, now solemnizing no marriages out of a desire not to perform same-sex marriages.

This report explicitly attributes this phenomenon to conservative Christians, with journalist Jesse McKinley writing:

The Campaign for Children and Families, which opposes same-sex marriage, has urged clerks in counties “where the man-woman marriage ethic is strongest in California” to deny licenses to same-sex couples until after the outcome of a statewide ballot initiative in November that would bar such unions.

The group’s founder, Randy Thomasson, said he had spoken with several county clerks who said they did not want to or intend to issue same-sex marriage licenses unless forced to. “They are process people, and the process is roughly being shoved aside,” Mr. Thomasson said.

The story uses the word "rural" only at the very end, and there as raised by a county supervisor who is quoted as opposing the suspension of civil marriages by county officials, in part out of concern that it makes the place and its residents resemble the old Johnny Carson joke about "hicks from the sticks," thereby obscuring positive associations with the place.

[T]he county supervisor, Don Maben, said he worried that the clerk’s decision would deny poorer and far-flung rural couples access to weddings, because the clerk’s office has long been a refuge for those wanting nonreligious or cheap nuptials.

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