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Officiants May Opt Out of Gay Nuptials

San Diego
Officiants May Opt Out of Gay Nuptials

The San Diego County Clerk's office is considering giving its officials the option to exempt themselves from officiating gay marriages when the California supreme court ruling legalizing such unions takes effect June 16, according to TheSan Diego Union-Tribune.

The San Diego County Clerk's office is considering giving its officials the option to exempt themselves from officiating gay marriages when the California supreme court ruling legalizing such unions takes effect June 16, according to TheSan Diego Union-Tribune. County clerk Gregory Smith has asked more than 100 employees of the county who conduct marriage ceremonies to submit their "legitimate religious or moral" reasons for wanting to opt out of gay and lesbian ceremonies.

The effort, Smith said, is out of "dignity and respect" for both the employees of the county as well as the couples who will potentially be married in San Diego. Smith defended his proposal by saying it would be unfair to force any dissenting staff members to participate in a ceremony with which they hold a moral objection. Smith added that the gay and lesbian couples being married also deserve to have a supportive officiant rather than someone who objects to their union.

Smith thought it best to confront the issue in anticipation of the thousands of gay and lesbian couples who will request marriage licenses when the court ruling takes effect. Smith did assure San Diegans that, regardless of the decisions made by individual county officials, the County Clerk's office will provide enough marriage officiators for all couples, gay and straight, who request to be married.

Smith concluded, "Bottom line is, we're going to get the job done, and we're going to have the resources to do it." (The Advocate)

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