Public employees refuse to do their jobs


This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”  Constitution of the United States of America, Article VI

Civics classes in the deep south may need to have their curriculum adjusted, as it seems many civil servants there don’t understand this portion of the U.S. Constitution. On Friday, June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled state bans on same-sex marriages violate the U.S. Constitution.  They also ruled that states cannot refuse to recognize the lawful marriages conducted in other states.  This had the effect of legalizing same-sex marriage, or now, simply ‘marriage’, across the United States.  County clerks across the south, many spurred on by state attorneys general and governors, are refusing to issue marriage license to same-sex couples.  A few have even stopped issuing licenses altogether, to avoid having to let the gays get married.

Citing “sincerely held religious belief” as the justification for government employees refusing to carry out their duties, county clerks, attorneys general, and state governors (oddly, or perhaps not, all Republican) are dashing out memos as fast as their printers and computers can send them.  Some have seen the light, and are issuing licenses, but some are still holding out, claiming they need “clarification” or “direction”.  Personally, I’d just refer them to ‘Constitution, U.S., Article 6, Clause 2′ and be done with it.

I’m a government employee.  I wonder how it would be received if I began instituting a religious filter on whether or not I will carry out my duties?  You really won’t mind being put on hold when you dial 9-1-1, if I determine it would be against my belief system to help you, do you?  I’m sure someone else will be available shortly to help you, but, I’m sorry, I really can’t.  I’m pretty sure the county would fire me in short order if I tried that, but you know what?  I serve everyone equally, no matter who they are, or who they might decide they want to marry.  I took an oath to uphold the constitution of the United States, and the state of California, and unless someone snuck some secret lines into those documents while I wasn’t looking, there’s no excuse for failing to do the job for which I was hired.  After all, I, and those clerks, asked for the position.  I, and they, don’t get to pick and choose for whom they will discharge their duties.

Photo:  Casy Cavalier (left), and Tod King attempt to get a marriage license in Denton, Texas.  County clerk Juli Luke refused.  Image: Kristin Watson, Denton Record-Chronicle

GOP continues it’s war on the LGBT community

The North Carolina legislature has successfully overridden the veto of SB2 by Governor Pat McCrory.  Once the law goes into effect, it will be perfectly legal for a state or county employee to deny anyone who doesn’t meet their religious requirements a marriage license.  While aimed at the gay community, this will also allow mixed race and mixed religion couples to be denied the impartial service of state functions by government employees, whose religion will be allowed to trump the U. S. Constitution (at least until a Federal Court puts a stop to it).

In Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation allowing adoption agencies (even those that accept government funding) to refuse to adopt children into the homes of otherwise qualified gays and lesbians.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed an executive order (where’s the right’s outrage about that? President Obama does that and the right loses their minds about tyranny) allowing discrimination against LGBT communities to go unaddressed, after the state legislature failed to pass a “religious freedom” bill.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, now running for the GOP nomination for President, says gay marriage will lead to the “criminalization of Christianity“.

Former Senator Rick Santorum, also running for the GOP nomination, said (to an audience of one at a campaign rally stop – who was the county GOP Chair) gay marriage is a threat to the family and religious liberty.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has no problem with business people discriminating, as long as that discrimination is against the gays.

The list goes on.  In places where they control government, the GOP will pass unconstitutional laws permitting discrimination against minorities.  We have to waste time, resources, and money to slap these actions down in Federal Courts, but they continue to pursue their agenda of hatred and discrimination.  The war goes on, with the battle cry being sounded by the trumpet of the GOP.

Saturday is Fresno’s 25th LGBT Pride Parade and Festival

Design by Kirk Caldwell
Design by Kirk Caldwell

Saturday, June 6 will be the 25th annual Fresno Pride Parade and Festival, held in the historic Tower District.  The first parade was ‘greeted’ by hooded members of the Ku Klux Klan, in a vain attempt at intimidation.

Photo John Walker Fresno Bee
Photo John Walker Fresno Bee

Times have changed, and now the Fresno Pride Parade and Festival is a popular event, attended by thousands from around Fresno and the valley.

The parade is held on Olive Street, in the Tower District, starting at 10am.  A block festival is held immediately after the parade, and concludes at 3pm.  Admission to the parade is free, there is a $5 donation for the festival.

This year’s event is in remembrance of the Stonewall Riots, which occurred in New York City in June of 1969.  Pride parades and events have occurred around the country, and now the world, in June of each year in memory of the people who forcefully resisted police harassment and arrests, over several nights in NYC.  There’s a saying to remember it by: “The first Pride was a riot!”  The Stonewall riots are considered the kickoff for the modern LGBT movement in the United States.

Many Visalians will be at this year’s parade and festival.  Members of Tulare-Kings Counties PFLAG chapter will be marching with the Fresno chapter.  The Visalia Pride Lions will be marching as well, and will have a table at the festival.

It was hoped the Supreme Court would have ruled on marriage equality before the event, which would have made for quite the celebration, but we are still waiting of the ruling.  Most observers of the Court expect it to rule in favor of marriage equality, and with the countdown to the end of the court’s session at the end of the month, we eagerly await the decision.

Fresno’s Pride Parade and Festival, along with the Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival in September, is the largest local celebration of the LGBTQ+ community, and continues to provide entertainment, information, support, and camaraderie for everyone who supports equality.