Virginia lawmaker proposes ‘conscience clause’ for law clerks

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Kentucky clerk Kim Davis made national headlines last year after refusing to issue licenses to same-sex couples, which eventually landed her in jail for contempt.

Senator Charles Carrico has introduced a bill (SB 40) that would create a “conscience clause” stating that a Virginia clerk or deputy clerk shall not be required to issue a marriage license if they have a personal, ethical, moral, or religious objection.

“Clerks of the court are employees of our government and they must do the job, they must follow the law,” said Bill Harrison with Diversity Richmond.

Harrison compares the sentiment to past arguments he says were made regarding another segment of the population.

“We saw the same thing back in the day of desegregation. People holding their bibles claiming if god wanted us all to be together he would have wanted us all to look alike,” said Harrison.

Under the proposal, gay couples could still be issued a marriage license at their local DMV.

“As long as same sex couples can still be married according to the supreme court we should be able to make this happen,” said Victoria Cobb with The Family Foundation.

Victoria cobb with the family foundation says the bill protects the religious rights of people with deeply held beliefs….

“I don’t think Americans actually want a government where people have to check their faith at the door when they enter,” said Cobb.

But Harrison asks where would it end? He says anyone could potentially be affected if the bill were to pass.

“This is not what America is all about. We need to focus on how we can live together in peace and harmony,” said Harrison.

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