Same-Sex Marriage Is Legal Nationwide. So Why Are These Places Blocking It?

Photo: Reinhold Matay/AP Photo.
The Supreme Court just made same-sex marriage legal nationwide. But, that doesn't mean marriages are taking place in every corner of the country. In fact, cities, towns, and states all over are still trying to keep marriage equality from coming to fruition.

Alabama has been home to some of the most offensive reactions from officials (and the silliest response to public backlash). On Monday, the head of the state's Supreme Court tried to stop judges from issuing same-sex marriage licenses — the second time he's blatantly ignored rulings that should have brought equality to the state. Some counties simply stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether, but legal observers expect questions about the Supreme Court decision to be resolved soon, with a federal appeals court ruling.

Texas and its Attorney General got attention on Monday for supporting TX county clerks who chose not to issue marriage licenses because of their religious beliefs. The Lone Star State isn't alone: When Lousiana became the last state to comply with the Supreme Court's ruling on Monday, top officials said that clerks who don't want to issue licenses (due to religious objections) could hand the job over to another colleague. At least one clerk in Mississippi resigned over same-sex marriage, and some clerks in Kentucky stopped issuing all marriage licenses.

Juli Luke, the Denton, Texas county clerk, refused to give marriage licenses on Friday, but by Monday she had changed course. "Same-sex marriage is in contradiction to my faith and belief that marriage is between one man and one woman," Luke told Dallas' NBC News affiliate. "However, first and foremost, I took an oath on my family bible to uphold the law as an elected public official."

Further north, 17 of Kansas' 105 counties still aren't marrying same-sex couples, according to The Topeka Capital-Journal. And over in Arkansas, one county clerk opted to resign from her position rather than provide marriage licenses to all couples. Other southern states are also still battlegrounds over the marriage issue, which isn't surprising: The region includes many of the 13 states that banned same-sex marriage until the Supreme Court issued its ruling.

Despite the clerks seeking refuge from hordes of marriage-minded LGBTQ couples, more and more parts of the country are handing out licenses, and there haven't been reports of clerks holding out over objections for more than a short time. Those who refuse to issue licenses could face fines and discrimination lawsuits. We'll have to wait and see if certain counties or towns will become sites for prolonged battles over this one facet of LGBTQ rights.
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