County by County, Gay Marriage Policies Differ
Photo by Jonathan Alcorn via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
The Los Angeles Times conducted a survey of all 58 counties in California asking about policies relating to same-sex marriage. 35 stated that employees were not allowed to opt out of officiating over marriages for any reason; or, at least, no reservations were expressed by clerks in those counties.
"We're not going to make accommodations for someone to practice illegal discrimination," Nevada County Clerk-Recorder Gregory Diaz told the paper. Orange County recorder spokeswoman Jean Pasco told the Times that "All employees are following the law."
The same goes for Los Angeles, where there was some confusion at the onset of the law over if County Clerk Dean Logan was going to allow clerks to opt out if they were uncomfortable. LA City Attorney quickly sent of a letter to Logan and the press expressing his displeasure and soon after an official policy from LA County said clerks would be following the law.
But in other parts of the state, counties are taking a different approach. "In Alameda County, employees must perform same-sex ceremonies unless they bring a letter from their church. Stanislaus and Sutter counties will excuse employees who are uncomfortable. And Ventura County has yet to make a final policy decision," the Times explained. Kern County (home to Bakersfield) seems to be causing the most trouble. The county clerk has banned her office from any performing weddings, gay or straight. Instead, volunteer ministers will officiate over the weddings on the grounds of the clerk's downtown office.
One group, Advocates for Faith and Freedom, is saying that forcing clerks to marry same-sex couples would violate law and they are protected "under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the California's Fair Employment and Housing Act."