Saturday, January 30, 2016

Anti-Gay Marriage Bill Sent Back to Committee Over Interracial Marriage Concerns

Was Carrico trying to give a pass to racist clerks?
In his quest to prostitute himself to the rabid Christofascists of the Virginia GOP base and/or stay in the good graces of the foul haters at The Family Foundation who threaten primary contests against those who do not do their bidding, Charles W. Carrico Sr. (R-Grayson) introduced the so-called "Kim Davis bill" which would allow circuit court clerks to refuse to issue marriage licenses to any couples if doing so offended their beliefs.  The bill was put forward supposedly to protect "religious freedom" but really is a license to discriminate effort.  On Wednesday, the bill was passed out of committee on a partisan vote - Republicans out numbering Democrats - to move to the full Virginia Senate.  

Now, given the lack of any limits on alleged religious belief that could motivate a protesting clerk, the bill has been sent back to the Senate Courts of Justice Committee because as written, segregationist could cite the Bible and refuse to issue licenses to interracial couples.  Carrico claims that such was not his intent - only gays were supposedly targeted- but given the very strong racist undertones of the agenda of The Family Foundation that I have observed over the years, I cannot candidly believe Carrico's story line.  The fact is that the Bible was long cited as justification for slavery, segregation and interracial bans in Virginia - the Virginia Supreme Court even did so in the Loving case before being overruled by the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Washington Post looks at the chaos Carrico's bill would potentially unleash.  Here are highlights:
Virginia legislators on Friday decided to take a closer look at a bill to make sure that it would not let court clerks deny marriage licenses to interracial couples.

The measure, which passed out of a committee to the full Senate this week, was intended to protect clerks who object to issuing licenses to same-sex couples, something the bill’s Republican sponsor promoted as a matter of religious freedom.

But the legislation provided such wide latitude to refuse licenses that Sen. Charles W. Carrico Sr. (R-Grayson) initially said that it would cover clerks who objected to marriages on any grounds, including those based on objections to interracial marriage. . . . on Friday, he asked to have his bill sent back to the Senate Courts of Justice Committee for further study.

The bill would give clerks or deputy clerks the freedom to refuse to issue licenses to couples if they object to their unions on “personal, ethical, moral, or religious grounds.” Those they turn away could be issued marriage licenses at a Department of Motor Vehicle office — an option that critics liken to the “separate-but-equal” justification for segregated schools that was ultimately declared unconstitutional.

The legislation does not specify any class of couples that could be denied licenses from clerks, but Democrats dubbed it the “Kim Davis bill,” a reference to the Kentucky clerk who was jailed last year after refusing to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

Opponents, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, contend that the measure — even as intended — is unconstitutional. But supporters, including the Family Foundation of Virginia, said it is needed to protect religious liberties in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling in June that legalized gay marriage.

The bill passed the Senate Courts of Justice Committee on Wednesday night over the objections of all six Democrats and one Republican, freshman Sen. Glen Sturtevant of Richmond.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) vowed to veto the measure if it reaches his desk.
There is an easy solution: public officials need to either do their jobs or seek other employment.  Religious belief does not belong in the public square and no one in public should be allowed to cite real or feigned religious belief to ignore the law and the U.S. Constitution.  End of discussion.

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