Unable to deny a lesbian couple a marriage license, a West Virginia deputy county clerk settled for telling the women that their relationship was wrong and would be judged by God. The women also say the clerk called them “an abomination.” The clerk denies that part, but merrily told a local reporter that yes, God told her to berate those ladies trying to get married.
The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that Amanda Abramovich and Samantha Brookover got their marriage license last week at the Gilmer County Clerk’s office in Glenville, West Virginia. They also got a lecture from deputy clerk Debbie Allen, who they say “huffed” while making copies of their driver’s licenses, slammed the copies down, then yelled “that what they were doing was wrong in her eyes and in God’s eyes and that no one in Gilmer County would ever marry them,” per the newspaper.
Allen, and the other deputy clerk who was working that day, Angela Moore, dispute the “abomination” part. They say Allen didn’t yell, but merely calmly expressed her beliefs, which Moore evidently shares. She told the newspaper she didn’t care to even look at Brookover and Abramovich:
“I was working on what I was supposed to be doing and, honestly, I didn’t care to make eye contact with them,” Moore said.
The clerks don’t dispute that Allen told the couple that what they were doing was wrong and that they would be judged, but they also stressed that they did not view the statement as an “attack.”
“We did not attack them,” Allen said. “We did not yell at them. We were not aggressive with them. I felt I talked nicely to them.”
Allen also told the paper that she “just felt led” to yell at some women trying to get a marriage license. “I believe God was standing with me and that’s just my religious belief.”
Jill Goff, Brookover’s mother, also called the county clerk herself, Jean Butcher. Jean Butcher, an elected official whose current term expires on December 31, 2016, is also not sorry:
Goff had a phone conversation with Gilmer County Clerk Jean Butcher about the incident. Butcher said she told Goff that her religious beliefs are similar to Moore’s. “They were issued the license, and that was the main thing,” Butcher told the Gazette-Mail.
Abramovich and Brookover held a commitment ceremony some time ago, but told the newspaper they wanted to be legally married for health insurance reasons.
Allen refused to tell the paper how she might handle any future same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses, but we probably don’t have to wonder too hard on that one.
Gilmer County Clerk Jean Butcher can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at (304) 462-7641. Their fax number is (304) 462-8855. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST.
Gilmer County Clerk Jean Butcher. Screengrab via YouTube/Gilmer Free Press