To: Tara S. Green, Clerk of the Circuit Court, Clay County, Florida
From: Harry B Parrott D. Min.; President, Clay County Chapter,
Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Date: January 8, 2015
Dear Ms Green,
On behalf of the Clay County Board of Directors of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, I ask you to reconsider your decision to discontinue all wedding services at the Office of the County Clerk. I and many others are deeply distressed that the narrow religious views of some people are depriving many citizens of this valuable service that should be open to everyone.
The timing of your decision clearly marks your action as a blatant act of discrimination directed against the LGBT community — it is obviously no coincidence that you took your action just as the mandate became effective that same-sex marriage licenses were to be available. While many other clerks across the state have made staffadjustments to ensure that courthouse weddings would continue, evidently your office chose to bend to sectarian pressure. As the Florida Times-Union editorialized so powerfully this morning, your decision “takes us back in time to the bad old days that we thought were behind us”. What a tremendous embarrassment, says the T-U, to this area which has been working so hard to rebrand itself as a bold and forward-looking location.
It is the essence of America’s tradition of church-state separation that every citizen has freedom of personal belief; but also that the policies and practices of government shall not be dictated by any religious point of view. Your office has clearly forgotten this distinction and allowed sectarian dogma to determine the services your offices will provide.
We are very disturbed by this development, and join with the Times Union (and many others) in urging you to reconsider your decision.
Rev Harry Parrott
Clay County Chapter
Americans United for Separation of Church and State