Friday, October 16, 2009

Not Everything That's Wrong Should Be Illegal

A Louisiana justice of the peace is in hot water after declining to perform a civil wedding for an interracial couple and referring the couple to a colleague.

While I totally disagree with Keith Bardwell's refusal, I'm leery of the government forcing justices of the peace to perform weddings to which they object & not allowing them to refer the couples to a colleague. What if the situation were not an interracial couple but a homosexual one? Should the government force a Christian justice of the peace to officiate against his/her deeply held religious beliefs? At least 11 justices in Massachusetts resigned after that state legalized homosexual marriage and then-Governor Mitt Romney told justices they could not refuse to perform them.

What's so wrong about allowing a justice to say, "sorry, I can't help you but you can go to my colleague so-and-so"? The inconvenience of the couple having to go elsewhere should not outweigh the conscience right of the justice of the peace.

Do I think Keith Bardwell is flat-out wrong in his stance on interracial marriage? Absolutely. But he and other justices of the peace should have the right to refuse to marry a couple for whatever reason so long as another justice can be found to perform the marriage. Otherwise, Christian justices may very well have to choose between keeping their job and following their religion.

6 comments:

Robert Marion said...

I am a white man getting married to a black woman, next week. I would be more than surprised if I were denied a marriage license. So, when you say it shouldn't be illegal, what other civil rights do you think should be denied people?

Maybe not everything that is wrong should be illegal is true when it comes to, say, eating too many sweets or smoking cigarettes. When it comes to denying people their most basic of civil rights, then it should be illegal. Or maybe you can explain to my fiance why she shouldn't be allowed to marry me.

I guess, since you are home schooling your kids, you will skip civil rights in addition to all the natural sciences that tell us the earth revolves around the sun and natural selection, not creationism explains life on earth.

No, you may not think you are a racist, but then neither did the Justice of Peace who told the couple they couldn't marry.

Tinsldr2 said...

Absolutely he should resign or be fired. If he were a CLERGY then it is his choice. But as a paid CIVIL official he does not get to decide to take tax payer payments only to do his duties in cases he agrees with.

What if a cop doesn't think the drinking age should be 21 but maybe 18? Should the cop not enforce the law?

Can a soldier take a monthly pay check then decide he is against a specific war and not go and still get paid?

If his morals dont allow him to perform his duties I admire his convictions but he should stop getting his pay. As a public official he failed to do his JOB in my opinion.

Crimson Wife said...

Congratulations on your upcoming marriage, Robert!

In the Louisiana case, the couple was not denied a marriage license. All that happened was that Mr. Bardwell declined to perform the ceremony himself and made a referral to a different justice of the peace. He did not tell the couple that they COULDN'T marry, just that they had to use someone else to officiate. I totally disagree with his reason for doing so, but nobody's civil rights were denied. The couple may have been (rightly IMHO) offended but they still were able to marry.

For your information, I don't teach Creationism, "young Earth" or otherwise. Not all Christian homeschoolers take a literal interpretation of Genesis 1.

Ken said...

The people on this thread have more common sense than on Caffety's. Most are thinking race, when this is about a person's right to refuse a request for a marriage ceremony. Like the above, He is not denied to get married, just not by him. If one went to a window for assistance and was told to see the other guy, would that be unconstitutional? people are willing to give people's rights away. The ACLU is against him, but if memory serves me, they are in favor with the gay position that a clergy can refuse to marry gays. What's the difference?

scitascienda said...

There've been a number of JPs resign here in the Province of Manitoba (Canada) since the inauguration of gay marriage.

Agree or disagree with the marriage legislation, that's not the ultimate issue at hand, or wouldn't be if policy didn't force it--it's that they don't have the right to refer to another JP, regardless of their own personal conscience.

So I think you've got a point there for libertarianism, much as the man's a flaming bigot for how he wants to use his liberty. If working for the public sector requires that we cease to maintain a personal conscience, then we also can't leverage our personal conscience for good. And civil rights advocacy generally benefits from help within the system.

Just a thought, anyway.

CW, I want to apologize if I came off as sharp at Scienda earlier regarding the Maddow thing. I looked back at that and went, "Man, that was blunt. I should likely be rather ashamed of myself." Forgive me for the shortness of wording...and again, my apologies.

~Cat

Tinsldr2 said...

I disagree with Cat because a job is not a "right".

If the JP is paid to do a job while at work his actions reflect the policy of the employer.

If My employer wants me to do something and I dont want to do it, I have two choices, quit or be fired.

You cant get any more libertarian then that. If he doesn't want to do ALL the work required of him by the state the state should FIRE him.

You can't get more libertarian or freedom loving then that. No one is forcing him to marry blacks and whites, if he doesn't want to he can get another job where he doesn't have to. But as long as he takes a pay check he should be required to do all the work his job requires.