AU Sends Letter To A West Virginia County About Abusive Deputy Clerk

Americans United sent a letter to Gilmer County commissioners and County Clerk Jean Butcher stating that Deputy Clerk Debbie Allen violated the constitutional rights of a same-sex couple seeking a marriage license. The deputy clerk had referred to their marriage as "an abomination" and told them that they would be judged by God.

From the letter: 

Not only was this conduct inhumane, but it flagrantly violated the couple’s constitutional rights. By chastising the couple and expressing religious disapproval of their relationship and attempt to marry, the County violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment as well as the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. In order to bring the County Clerk’s office into compliance with the Constitution, the office and its staff must refrain from conveying religious or antigay messages when processing marriage-license applications or performing other official functions. 

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“It is both cruel and unacceptable for a government employee to berate anyone he or she serves in an official capacity,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Even though Ms. Allen did not refuse to issue a license in this instance, she still deprived an innocent couple of their rights when she treated them like second-class citizens.”