Holy Toledo! Ohio Judge Turns down Gay Nuptials
America’s highest court may have disappointed on marriage, but plenty of benches have not.
In Ohio, Toledo Municipal judges take turns on “civil ceremony duty,” a job that took on new meaning exactly two weeks ago today. When Judge Allen McConnell went on his three-week matrimonial rotation, he came face-to-face with the consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision: a same-sex “marriage” request.
A former leader in Toledo’s NAACP chapter, McConnell — a Democrat — apologized but said that his personal beliefs prevented him from officiating. After a brief delay, the court found another judge to marry the couple.
Despite that very minor inconvenience, the Left is demanding McConnell’s impeachment. So much for a religious liberty balancing act! The African American judge, who says the civil rights struggle is what “inspired his career,” explained, “On Monday, July 6, I declined to marry a non-traditional couple during my duties assignment. The declination was based upon my personal and Christian beliefs established over many years. I apologize to the couple for the delay they experienced and wish them the best.”
As Alliance Defending Freedom pointed out, “The ability of the couple to find someone to solemnize their ceremony in 45 minutes illustrates that there is no substantial government interest in forcing this judge to violate his sincerely held beliefs.” Yet, liberal activists — the same ones who insisted the country could find common ground between marriage and religious liberty — will accept nothing less than complete capitulation on faith. If that means trampling a man’s sincerely-held beliefs, so be it.
And judges aren’t the only victims of this collision course. Hundreds of magistrates, clerks, and state leaders are staring down a difficult choice: their convictions or their careers? As the Conservative Action Project explained in a memo to conservatives, it doesn’t have to be that way — if Americans act now to protect religious liberty. “We commit ourselves to the work of ensuring that the government never penalizes or discriminates against anyone simply for believing what President Obama believed about marriage just three years ago,” the group (which includes FRC) wrote in a Memo to the Movement. “We call on Congress to pass the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) and for state legislatures to approve similar measures that stop the government from discriminating against those who believe in natural marriage.”
Like Judge McConnell, no individual should be punished for supporting marriage as it’s been defined since the dawn of time: as the union of a man and woman. You can help! Contact your congressman and senators and ask them to support Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rep. Raul Labrador’s (R-Idaho) FADA bills (S. 1598 and H.R. 2802).
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