Metro Weekly

Tennessee: Every clerk in Decatur County resigns over same-sex marriage

It's the only county in the state to refuse to issue licenses to gay couples

Tennessee State Capitol, Credit - Wikimedia
Tennessee State Capitol – Credit: Wikimedia

In Decatur County, Tennessee, same-sex couples won’t be getting married any time soon. Outraged by last week’s ruling on same-sex marriage, three employees of the County Clerk Office have resigned.

According to The Jackson Sun, Clerk Gwen Pope and her two employees, Sharon Bell and Mickey Butler, are leaving in order to avoid issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. There has apparently been no demand for licenses, but the women aren’t taking any chances. The Tennessee Equality Project reports that Decatur County was the only clerk’s office in the state to refuse to issue licenses.

However, despite the nature of the resignation, Pope contends that their mass exodus has nothing to do with garnering media attention.

“It’s kind of sort of like you don’t want to draw attention to yourself for any reason,” Pope said. “That’s not why we’re doing this. Not doing it in any way to draw attention to us. It’s for the glory of God. He’s going to get all the glory.

“I honestly believe God will take care of us,” she added.

Support for the women has been widespread among the county’s residents, with one person telling Jackson Sun that “[same-sex marriage] is wrong because it goes against the Bible and everything God intended for it to be.” A local resident added that the women “stood upon their beliefs and they stood upon their morals and no one can fault them.”

Drew Baker, the region’s representative for the Tennessee Equality Project, called the situation “unfortunate,” but the law was clear about those who refuse to issue licenses.

“[It’s] against the law. They’re opening themselves up to litigation,” he said. “However, I admire them for the strength of their convictions.”

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