Subscribe Register Login

Tuesday, May 31, 2016, 9:23 a.m.
Top Picks - Mobile App

Cleburne County clerk will resign over same-sex marriage licenses

By Staff and wire reports

This article was originally published June 29, 2015 at 11:27 a.m. Updated June 29, 2015 at 4:25 p.m.

sen-jason-rapert-r-bigelow-posted-this-message-on-twitter-sunday-suggesting-a-county-clerk-will-resign-over-having-to-issue-marriage-licenses-to-same-sex-couples

Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, posted this message on Twitter Sunday suggesting a county clerk will resign over having to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

LITTLE ROCK — A county clerk in Arkansas plans to resign effective Tuesday because of a moral objection to issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

Cleburne County Clerk Dana Guffey said Monday she has notified the county judge of her plans to resign. She says she has a moral objection to issuing the marriage licenses following Friday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriages nationwide. She said the decision to leave the post after 24 years was not made out of hate.

Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, hinted at Guffey's decision Sunday, posting on Twitter shortly before 2 p.m. that he had "just been advised one Arkansas County Clerk will resign before issuing" the licenses to same-sex couples. He included the hashtag "#resist" with that message on the popular social media platform and followed it with a second post supporting the plan.

"County Clerks have rights-I stand with any elected official to refuse to comply with an unjust ruling that violates their religious beliefs," the tweet said.

Rapert didn't immediately reply to messages left seeking comment Monday morning.

Polk County Clerk Terri Harrison, who serves as the president of the Arkansas Association of County Clerks, said earlier Monday that she had not heard from any clerks who were considering leaving their posts over same-sex marriages, which became legal Friday after a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

"All I know is we've discussed this in previous county clerk meetings and no one ever told me they had to resign if they had to do that," she said.

ArkansasOnline reached out to county clerks across the state Monday morning and afternoon to see if any planned to resign.

Dallas County Clerk Susie Williams said she had considered stepping down after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage but has since opted against it.

“After a lot of praying and thinking about it, I’ve decided to stay,” Williams said. “I’m trying to stay where the lord wants me to stay.”

“I’m bound by law to do what the Supreme Court tells me to do.”

Harrison said that she believed all counties by Monday were issuing or were prepared to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

But one clerk reached by phone Monday, Randolph County Clerk Rhonda Blevins, said "I don't know" when asked by a reporter if same-sex marriage licenses were available there. Asked if she was the clerk who would resign over gay marriage licenses, Blevins said she has "not publicly said that, no."

Arkansas County Clerk Melissa Wood said Monday that Rapert's tweet was not referring to her office, which began offering same-sex licenses Friday morning and issued one that afternoon. She said several people had inquired after Rapert's tweet.

"Can I say with a capital 'N' and a capital 'O' and exclamation points that no, it's not us," she said.

Columbia County Clerk Sherry Bell said her office made the same-sex licenses available shortly after the ruling came down, adding she doubts any clerk would resign over the issue.

"I've got to do whatever the law says," she said. "Sure, people have their personal beliefs. But when it comes down the pike, you've got to take that aside. That comes with the territory."

Rapert made the same claim he did on Twitter in a Facebook post in which he also called the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling unconstitutional.

"I encourage all political leaders of Arkansas and leaders in the faith community to rally around County Clerks who choose to refuse to comply with an unjust ruling that violates religious freedom and states rights," he wrote. "I encourage all likeminded political leaders around the entire nation to do the same. We cannot sit idly by while 5 robed lawyers try to seize power from the states and the people."

Arkansas Online reporters Gavin Lesnick, Danielle Kloap and Sara Janak and news editors Lisa Burnett and Katie Doherty contributed to this story. Information for this article was contributed by The Associated Press.

ADVERTISEMENT

Comments on: Cleburne County clerk will resign over same-sex marriage licenses

To report abuse or misuse of this area please hit the "Suggest Removal" link in the comment to alert our online managers. Read our Terms of Use policy.

Subscribe Register Login

You must login to make comments.

Displaying 1 - 10 of 54 total comments

Jump to last page >>

purplebouquet says... June 29, 2015 at 11:51 a.m.

He heard, she heard. It seems a bit premature to write an article about a clerk's intention, reported by a third party, to do something; shouldn't the paper focus on things that actually happened, rather than spread speculation and hearsay?

( | suggest removal )

ToTheLeft says... June 29, 2015 at 12:12 p.m.

But if it had gone the other way, these so-called Christians would be lauding their efforts, saying it was law and we should deal with it. So let the clerk resign. I'm sure Rapert won't have a problem supporting her and her family since she won't have a job.

( | suggest removal )

YoungHog says... June 29, 2015 at 12:30 p.m.

YAWN

( | suggest removal )

Strange22 says... June 29, 2015 at 12:43 p.m.

The only resignation needs to be his own!

( | suggest removal )

mitchstoner says... June 29, 2015 at 12:49 p.m.

A few will resign, that's their privilege. More will issue licenses to same-sex couples, without a fuss. Their privilege also, and a requirement for keeping their jobs, now that the Supremes have ruled. Rapert also has the right to make his statements.

"Yawn" may be an appropriate response to all this. Head shaking an appropriate response for others. Protest the only response for some others.

( | suggest removal )

menehunehog says... June 29, 2015 at 12:49 p.m.

That is what I would do if I did not believe in the values of the place I worked. It is called a responsible choice and an adult decision. Hope the clerk finds another job that better fits his or her beliefs. Hope Jason Rapert resigns and doesn't seek any public office - EVER!

( | suggest removal )

ARMNAR says... June 29, 2015 at 12:50 p.m.

Good riddance. If you're not going to follow the law, you shouldn't be in a government position.

( | suggest removal )

hah406 says... June 29, 2015 at 1 p.m.

So Rapert thinks the voluntary action of resignation by a clerk because their religious beliefs conflict with their official duties is "the beginning" of something. Resigning does not equate with termination. Must Rapert constantly seek to be in the news and stir the pot?

( | suggest removal )

mrcharles says... June 29, 2015 at 1:02 p.m.

I SUGGEST ALL PATRIOTS AND CORRECT AND TRUE BELIEVERS IN THEIR [ OF COURSE] INTERPRETATION OF THE CONSTITUTION WRITTEN BY MERE MORTALS BUT SOME WHO KNEW THE WILL OF GOD AND SOME WHO HAD SLAVES, [ WHOOPS!] AND SOUTHERN HERITAGE DELIVERANCE MOVIE ADDICTS AND OF COURSE THOSE CHRISTIANS OF THE CORRECT SECT OUT OF APPROXIMATE 30,000 STAND UP AND DO WHAT GHANDI DID IN INDIANA , HAVE A WORK STOPPAGE BY NOT SHOWING UP FOR WORK FOR A MONTH . ALSO DO NOT SHOP AT WAL MART OR OTHER STORES WHO ARE TRAITORS TO SOUTHERN HERITAGE [ PICK AND CHOOSE WHAT THAT IS] THAT TOOK AWAY THE GOD GIVEN RIGHT TO PURCHASE HERITAGE FLAGS. I DID NOT HEAR THAT FREDS OR CHICK A FIL IS GIVING IN TO THE LIVERALS. AND FINALLY STAND OUTSIDE THE CAPITOL NIGHT AND DAY FOR 30 DAYS TO PROTEST THE DULY APPOINTED SUPREME COURT DECISION THEY DONT LIKE. WE COULD MARK ON OUR TAX RETURNS WHICH DECISIONS WE AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH SO THINGS CAN GET ADJUSTED TO THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.

AND I WOULD POINT OUT WHEN WHITES WERE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BY NO LONGER BEING ALLOWED TO DISCRIMINANT AGAINST BLACKS, MANY GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS DID NOT RESIGN THEY JUST STOOD IN DOOR WAYS AND MADE FREE SPEECHES. BUT HEY IT IS A FREE COUNTRY TILL THE COMMUNIST DOMINOES FALL AND SEN BOOZEMAN ALLOWS CUBAN TROOPS TO INVADE STUTTGART.

I BELIEVE RAPERT WAS SENT BY ELOHIM HIMSELF TO SAVE US FROM ERRANT TRANSLATIONS OF THE BIBLE. HE SHOULD BE GIVEN THE TITLE IN THE DULY ELECTED LEGISLATURE OF GRAND WIZARD WATCHER.

( | suggest removal )

ChrisVogel says... June 29, 2015 at 1:11 p.m.

I guess it is just too much to expect for public officials to do their jobs if they are religious nuts.

( | suggest removal )

Click here to make a comment

To report abuse or misuse of this area please hit the "Suggest Removal" link in the comment to alert our online managers. Read our Terms of Use policy.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

SHOPPING

loading...
Top Picks - Mobile App
Arkansas Online