Thursday, June 12, 2008

Same-Sex Marriage in Rural California

A story on the California Report this morning highlighted the issues that some county officials are facing in the run up the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples next week. The suggestion in Kelly Wilkinson's report was that this is more controversial in rural counties, where the clerk/recorders are more likely to know their patrons and are under social pressure, as from conservative Christian groups. Butte County and Kern County officials have announced that they are no longer going to perform marriages. They are saying this is because of budget constraints, but Wilkinson's report suggested that it is because they have been told that they cannot legally refuse to grant licenses to same-sex couples while continuing to grant them to heterosexual couples. The Kings County clerk, interviewed for the radio program, indicated that he, too, is taking heat from county residents.

Does this suggest greater tolerance among urban populations? greater political vulnerability of local politicians in rural counties?

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