Same-sex marriage licenses cannot currently be issued in Decatur County, Tennessee because the entire office has resigned after the Supreme Court’s decision.
Decatur Country Clerk Gwen Pope and her staff members, Sharon Bell and Mickey Butler have all given their notice citing their religious beliefs conflicting with the legalization of gay marriage as their reasoning. Pope says that she and her employees would rather resign entirely than issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Drew Baker, the area representative for the Tennessee Equality Project, states that Decatur is the only county in the state that says it will not issue same-sex marriage licenses.
Soon-to-be former County Clerk Pope says that she did not mean for their decision to make the news.
“It’s kind of sort of like you don’t want to draw attention to yourself for any reason,” Pope told Tennessee News Station WBIR. “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.”
The three Tennessee employees quit their jobs with no plans and will now bee searching for work. Pope is not worried, stating, “I honestly believe God will take care of us.”
Some residents of the county were supportive of the women’s decision.
“It (same-sex marriage) is wrong because it goes against the Bible and everything God intended for it to be,” Decaturville worker, Kathy Parrish stated. “That wasn’t God’s plan. God’s plan was for men to be with women and women to be with men.”
Another resident, Scott King, commends the county workers, “These three ladies stood upon their beliefs and they stood upon their morals and no one can fault them. Too often we as Christians don’t do that. It’s time we followed the lead of what they showed us.”
The county employees’ last day is set to be on July 14.
Drew Baker says he rather see the women quit their jobs entirely than deny people their rights, “That’s unfortunate. That’s also against the law. They’re opening themselves up to litigation. However, I admire them for the strength of their convictions.”
Decatur car wash owner and Christian, Carlton Sanders says that although he shares the same religion as the women, he doesn’t believe in discrimination.
“If they were elected, and it’s the law and they don’t want to do what the law says of course you should step down,” Sanders states. “Hey, they decided it. It went to the top. We go by a justice system and that’s how it is.”