Supervisors in Kern County, Calif., voted unanimously July 8 to do nothing with a proposed ordinance to ban same-sex marriage in the conservative county. The measure was proposed by the Campaign for Children and Families. The supervisors acted after the county counsel informed them the ordinance would be unconstitutional. They expres-sed fears the illegal move would cost the county money.
The supervisors also set aside a proposal to investigate whether neighboring San Bernardino County could deputize Kern County employees who are willing to perform same-sex weddings.
In mid-June, Kern County Clerk Ann Barnett stopped offering any civil marriage ceremonies to avoid having to marry gay couples once the California Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage took effect on June 16.
In proposing the San Bernardino solution, Supervisor Don Maben likened Barnettâ€™s behavior to that of Southern school districts that closed schools rather than admit black students. â€śYou throw out everybody to shun a few. I believe itâ€™s morally wrong,â€ť Maben said, according to the Bakersfield Californian newspaper.
No one seconded Mabenâ€™s proposal.
21% of Deputized Employees Didnâ€™t Want to Marry Gays
Twenty-four of the 112 employees in the San Diego county clerkâ€™s office who were deputized to perform marriages asked to be excused from marrying same-sex couples, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported July 9. The newspaper acquired heavily redacted copies of the employeesâ€™ e-mails via a public-records request.
Eventually, 18 of the 24 objectors changed their minds, after learning they could not opt out of performing same-sex marriages without also being transferred to a new job elsewhere in the county bureaucracy.
The e-mails said such things as â€śI am not going to compromise my beliefs or standards for anyone, not even the Supreme Court of Californiaâ€ť and â€śI do respect the rights of other citizens who are now asserting same-sex marriages but I also need to assert my right to religious freedom.â€ť
In the end, 18 employees, the Union-Tribune noted, â€śstill handle same-sex marriage as part of their duties despite unfavorable attitudes toward the practice.â€ť
Massachusetts May OK Marriage For Out-Of-Staters
Massachusettsâ€™ legislature is considering repeal of a 1913 law that prohibits people from other states from getting married there if the marriage wouldnâ€™t be allowed where they live. The law â€” which stopped interracial couples who couldnâ€™t marry in their own states from marrying in Massachusetts â€” was resurrected after Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage in 2004.
The speaker of the House, the president of the Senate and Gov. Deval Patrick all support the lawâ€™s repeal.
San Diego Offers Gay-Wedding Sweepstakes
The San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau is holding a contest to give away a six-day â€śdream vacationâ€ť to the city for a same-sex couple to get married. The sweepstakes, which ends Aug. 1, is open to U.S. residents who are at least 25 years old. â€śWeâ€™re celebrating the new laws allowing same-sex weddings in California,â€ť ConVis said on its Web site.
â€śEver dreamed of being married in Paradise? In a short story, tell us why you should win the wedding vacation of your dreams in San Diego. The best story will win a trip that includes your marriage license, transportation, accommodations, dining and entertainment.â€ť
The prize includes airline tickets; five nights at a plush hotel; dinners at five fancy restaurants; wine, cheese and chocolate tasting at an upscale venue; tickets to the renowned Old Globe Theatre; tickets to the GLBT Diversionary Theatre; a wedding license; tickets to Fashion Week and more.
-Assistance: Bill Kelley