How do you get around marriage equality in California? Simply stop performing all wedding ceremonies.
Kern county clerk's office will stop performing ceremonies for any couples -- gay or straight -- after June 13- the Friday before the Supreme Court Decision goes into effect. The office will issue same-sex marriage licenses beginning June 17 as state law requires but will stop solemnizing weddings due to "lack of staff and space."
This announcement came Wednesday, right after the California Supreme Court refused to stay its decision legalizing same-sex marriage. Something smells rotten in Kern County...
According to the Bakersfield Californian:
Kern County Auditor-Controller-County Clerk Ann Barnett repeatedly tried to avoid licensing and performing marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples, interviews and e-mails obtained by The Californian show.
At her request, County Counsel Bernard Barmann filed a brief with the California Supreme Court opposing implementation of the May 15 ruling allowing gay marriage.
She tried to resign her elected position as county clerk -- while keeping her positions as auditor-controller and elections boss. "She really wanted to get rid of it," Barmann said.
And finally, when the ruling came down Wednesday that she had to license same-sex marriages, she decided to stop performing all weddings. That involved canceling 25 heterosexual ceremonies that had been scheduled after June 13, according to her staff.
I think the best response to Barnett's actions came from advocate Whitney Weddell: "Who really wants to be married by a hater?" Indeed.
Despite Barnett's ruling, there will be some couples gathering outside the county clerk's office for their wedding ceremonies June 17. Rev. Byrd Tetzlaff of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Kern County said she will be at the office that morning at 8 a.m. to officiate and will continue to perform weddings for free until Nov. 4.
"I would like people to know that I'm more than willing to do this," Tetzlaff said. "Justice for one is justice for all, and I'm glad California is open to this."
Now if only Kern County's Barnett would realize that...