adfAlliance Defending Freedom, formerly the Alliance Defense Fund, has issued a memo to Minnesota’s registrars, letting them know that they do not have to grant licenses to same-sex couples if doing so would violate their religious beliefs.

The memo (PDF) states in part:

In light of Minnesota’s recent law redefining marriage to include same-sex couples, some local registrars might believe that they face a serious dilemma: either resign their positions or violate their sincerely held religious or moral beliefs about marriage by being forced by state law to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. But local registrars, as explained herein, can resolve this potential conflict.

ADF explains that registrars can appoint a replacement to deal with the same-sex couples walking in the door.

What the ADF doesn’t say, however, is that if no replacement can be found to issue to the license, denying the couples is a violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

IN New York, when marriage equality became the law in 2011, several county clerks refused to offer licenses to same-sex couples. In some cases, the clerk simply quit. In one case, though, the clerk turned the couple away and told them to come back when a different employee was available.

The couple has since sued.

ADF was founded by the leaders of America’s most well known anti-gay organizations including Focus on the Family, American Family Association, and Campus Crusade for Christ, among others.

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  1. Their legal reasoning is all well and good except for one thing: how can it be a religious practice to give (or not give) a same-sex couple a civil marriage certificate? I always thought Christianity to be about helping the poor or accepting the eucharist or confessing your sins or something. I struggle to follow how choosing which couples to give civil marriage licenses is a "religious practice" that the First Amendment protects.
    If you're not prepared to do the job, don't do the job. It's similar to Muslim employees declining to handling pork at checkouts in grocery stores. If you don't want to touch pork for religious reasons, then being a cashier at a grocery store is the wrong job for you.


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