This post has been updated several times. See below.
It hasn’t been particularly surprising to see marriages being halted in places like Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas. In these states, some government officials are refusing to marry or issue marriage licenses to ANY couple, same-sex or opposite-sex, in order to avoid having to marry same-sex couples. However, this bigotry has now come to Michigan.
75th District Judge Michael Carpenter, a former county prosecutor, has ordered ALL marriages by judges in the 75th District to be halted. No reason has been given but the intent is obvious.
In the wake of last week’s landmark Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, Midland County’s 75th District Court has stopped performing marriages for all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Midland County Clerk Ann Manary said the decision was made earlier this week by District Judge Michael Carpenter, a former county prosecutor.
“Our district court is no longer performing marriages,” Manary said. “I’m not sure exactly what he’s thinking there.”
Because of this, Manary is the only government official who can legally marry couples in Midland County and she intends to continue to do so, as needed.
When Judge Carpenter was appointed by Gov. Snyder in 2013, it was clear he had no problem with melding church and state. During his swearing-in ceremony he quoted the Bible saying, “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
I think it’s time for other government officials to stop doing their jobs based on their “sincerely-held religious views”.
» Officials who are anti-war should stop processing Selective Service registrations which are required for “[a]lmost all male U.S. citizens, and male immigrants, who are 18 through 25”.
» Officials who believe “thou shalt not kill” should refuse to process gun license registrations.
» Christian officials should stop participating in divorce hearings and all other divorce proceedings since the Bible teaches that divorce is a sin.
If it’s good enough for a judge, it’s good enough for any government official. It’s no longer a requirement, apparently, for government officials or employees to actually do their job if some aspect of it conflicts with their religious views. It’s time to see just how far this can be pushed and to expose it for the anomaly based on bigotry that it is.
We all make career decisions in life. We choose which jobs to take based on whether or not it conflicts with our personal belief system. If something conflicts with our worldview, we don’t take the job. However, people like Judge Carpenter have a different view, believing that you can simply quit doing certain parts of your job if you don’t agree with them. It is, so far as I can tell, unprecedented and it needs to come to a stop. Now.
Judge Carpenter should reverse his decision or be relieved of his position immediately.
UPDATE: As is pointed out in the comments, a District Court judge is authorized but not required to perform marriages. However, I believe that Judge Carpenter is the lone Michigan District Judge to decide NOT to conduct marriages. In other words, while it’s not required, it is generally accepted as part of the job. He should take his religion-driven bigotry and find something more to his liking. Like being a pastor or something.
UPDATE 2: In case you’re wondering whether or not the Supreme Court decision striking down same-sex marriage bans had anything to do with this, I refer you to Judge Carpenter’s own words:
“When the decision came down from the Supreme Court Friday, I read through the case and then read through the statutes of what the court is required to do. … The district court can, but is not required, to do marriages. (The statute) says may, not shall..
A petulant, bratty child couldn’t have said it any more snottily.
UPDATE 3: Three of Judge Carpenter’s coworkers do not share his homophobia and have announced that weddings – ALL weddings – will continue in the 75th District Court. More on that including the statement they released HERE.