Conscience Protection for Maine Clerks

Following November 2012's citizen-initiated referendum to redefine marriage in Maine, marriage within that state will now include same-sex couples.  In light of this, clerks with religious and/or conscience objections to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples have found themselves in a quandary. Some have wrongly concluded that the marriage redefinition legislation leaves clerks with no choice but to issue licenses, regardless of their deeply held convictions.  After all, the Maine Municipal Association recently issued a memo stating that all clerks must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples seeking them.  But it ignored that Maine law governing clerks provides a mechanism to accommodate the clerks' rights of conscience while at the same time respecting the ability of applicants to obtain a marriage license.  Clerks should know that the law allows them to fulfill their sworn duties without violating their consciences.  Under the Maine Human...(Read Full Post)