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‘Abominable’ lesbian couple awarded cash and an apology

‘Abominable’ lesbian couple awarded cash and an apology

When Amanda Abramovich, right, and Samantha Brookover went to to their county clerk’s office in West Virginia last year to get a marriage licence they hadn’t bargained on encountering abusive religious nutters.

Deputy Clerk Debbie Allen slammed the paperwork on the desk, said she was a Christian and called the couple an “abomination” in a rant that continued for several minutes.

Another clerk joined in, shouting that it was Allen’s “religious right” to harass the couple.

When Brookover’s mother later called the county clerk’s office to report the encounter, she said County Clerk Jean Butcher told her she knew about the incident and believed the couple deserved the treatment they received.

What’s more, the next same-sex couple that sought a marriage licence, she allegedly said, “would get the same or worse” treatment.

Unsurprisingly, this idiotic response by officials to a couple who simply wanted to be treated with the respect to which all members of the public are undeniably entitled, became the subject of a court case.

And this week the US District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia ordered the Gilmer County clerk’s office to pay the couple $10,000 and issue an apology.

A week after the encounter last year, Allen, above, told the Charleston Gazette-Mail that she didn’t call the couple an “abomination”. In fact, Allen lied:

I felt I talked nicely to them.

She did acknowledge that she told the couple what they were doing was wrong and God would judge them.

I just told them my opinion. I just felt lead to do that. I believe God was standing with me and that’s just my religious belief.

But in a news release on August 30, Gilmer County acknowledged that Brookover and Abramovich “were disrespected and disparaged by staff” because they were a same-sex couple.

That was wrong. It is the policy of Gilmer County and the Gilmer County Clerk’s Office that all people seeking services and doing business with the County will be treated courteously and with respect regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The lawsuit, which was filed by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Fairness West Virginia and the law firm Mayer Brown, sought damages for the emotional distress caused by Allen’s actions.

In addition to paying the couple $10,000, the county also agreed to require all officials and employees of the county commission and county clerk’s office to participate in a training programme provided by Fairness West Virginia, an advocacy organisation dedicated to the fair and equal treatment of LGBT West Virginians.

The women said in a statement:

Consenting adults should never be made to feel embarrassed or ashamed when marrying the person they love. It will be a comfort to know that this behaviour will no longer be allowed in the Gilmer County Courthouse.

The women, who grew up in rural West Virginia, had applied for a marriage license once before, in October 2014, after West Virginia’s governor at the time, Earl Ray Tomblin (D), said he would stop defending the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

But Allen refused to issue the marriage license because neither had presented a driver’s licence listing an address in Gilmer County. Even after the couple’s landlord came with them to attest to their residency, Allen allegedly refused to listen.

Coincidentally I was in the Gibraltar registery office this morning filling in the paperwork for my wedding next Tuesday. The officials went one step further than being efficient. They were positively effusive and, once the documents were signed by the registrar I was hugged, kissed and showered with best wishes by the three people involved in the process.

Gibraltar legalised gay marriage in October 2016. The Civil Marriage Amendment Bill 2016 was passed in the Gibraltar Parliament with unanimous support from all 15 members present during the vote.

An amendment to remove a controversial part of the bill, which allows deputy registrars to opt out of conducting same-sex marriages was defeated 11 to 4 with only some of the Opposition MPs voting in favour.

The bill requires that, in circumstances where a deputy registrar does not agree to officiate a same-sex marriage, an alternative registrar must be assigned to conduct the marriage.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

19 responses to “‘Abominable’ lesbian couple awarded cash and an apology”

  1. Anthony Baker says:

    Is anyone really surprised at this kind of story? It is absolutely typical of the tribal intolerant primitive nasty mindset of evangelical christians. Here is another example:-
    Boots staff ‘harassed’ by morning-after pill campaigners – BBC News
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41121338
    Shameful behaviour from unwholesome people who know that they know best but are unaware of how unhinged they actually are.

  2. Broga says:

    Does much of the outrage stem from the whining, carping, howling Christians insecurity about their own masculinity?

  3. andym says:

    Another bunch of religious fuckwits who can’t , or choose not to, understand the first amendment. It’s your rights as a private individual that are protected, not the right to ignore the requirements of your job.Unfortunately as you say, not surprising.”Jesus is Love.”

  4. Club Secretary says:

    @Anthony Baker says:

    Regarding the Boots story who are you having a go at?

    Boots who seek to make large profits from morning after pills (to relieve their religious conscience) or the pro -choice BPAS.

  5. Angela_K says:

    “Allen’s religious right to harass the couple”
    And there lies the crux of the problem: Ignorant, usually poorly educated and bigoted religious nutters firmly believe their god instructs them to treat minorities with disrespect – to gain extra Brownie points in their non-resistant heaven perhaps?
    I maintain that it is my right to challenge people who hold bigoted and morally repugnant views.

  6. Anthony Baker says:

    Club Secretary …. can’t you read?

    Or are you one of those christian evangelist horrors?

  7. andym says:

    The campaign against Boots was about the cost of their morning after pill, but given that at least one person has told them they will have to “answer to God ,” it seems some religiots either misunderstood or got opportunistic.

  8. L.Long says:

    To all odd couples the best thing you can do is always carry a video camera on you (there is a pen type) and record all these aholes. Using that as evidence SUE THE PANTS OFF THEM!!! Oh! Hidden recordings not OK in court…have the trial on utube or facebook for ALL to see (like potential jury dudes) and then SUE THE PANTS off them.

  9. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    ” Allen refused to issue the marriage license because neither had presented a driver’s licence listing an address in Gilmer County.”

    What if neither had a licence because they didn’t drive? Would they have meted out the same hatred towards a hetero couple if they didn’t have licences? Wrong, on so many levels.

  10. John the Drunkard says:

    Do they issue marriage licenses to divorced people?
    What if the bride flunks the virginity requirement?
    What if one or both of the couple aren’t fertile?

    Xtian amnesia comes to the rescue.

  11. Robert says:

    Read this specious BBC celebration … What a wonderful holy man … AND PROTECTOR OF CHILD RAPISTS. He said it was the biggest mistake of his life …. but only after he was found out. Had he not been found out he would have continued to hide his appalling crime and continue in his protection of pedophile priests. Evil bastard … and it’s a shame there isn’t a hell for him to burn in. And he has blood on his hands for converting Blair to catholicism and the subsequent godly permission to lie about WMD and the illegal invasion of Iraq.

    Obituary: Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor – BBC News
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41003717

  12. Angela_K says:

    OT. Some good news: Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the ring-kissing Mary worshipper, paedophile enabler and anti-gay bigot is dead, shame there is no hell for him to burn in. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/cardinal-cormac-murphy-oconnor-dead-archbishop-westminster-dies-died-85-age-catholic-church-a7924631.html

  13. StephenJP says:

    @Angela_K: ah, yes: the man who said that atheists were “not fully human”. What a loss.

  14. Broga says:

    “Please pray for the repose of his soul.” There will be lots of paedophile priests, who should have been in the slammer, will have good reason to do that.

  15. Laura Roberts says:

    I realise religious people are as much victims of their own archaic delusions as anyone, but it amazes me, the feeble excuses they invent for hating whole classes of the human race.

  16. John says:

    I wonder if the election of Donald Trump as POTUS is responsible for the kind of behaviour exhibited by Allen and Butcher?
    Has his election now emboldened these kinds of bigots?
    If it has, their employer has been taught a very expensive lesson as a result of their employees stupidity.
    The one possible good outcome seems to be that their employer will never allow this to happen again.

  17. Stuart H. says:

    If these Christo-fascists are still working at the county clerk’s office then, whatever promises are made and the change in theory, nothing has really changed, has it?
    I suspect in such places it’s a bit like local government round here, where churchy types tip each other off about or recommend other churchgoers for upcoming jobs before they’re even advertised, then the department doesn’t go through with the proper interview procedure ‘to save money’. Over time, the deluded get more of a power base in places where they can indulge their sick little minds by screwing up people’s everyday lives.
    Yet we’re still surprised when incidents like this make the news.

  18. Tony says:

    No Christo-fascists then to put a spanner in the works on our Barry Duke’s big day on Tuesday in Gibraltar. Have a super day Barry and happy times after with your partner. Let me use the occasion to thank you for your years of unstinting work promoting the cause of rationalism and freethought.

  19. John says:

    I wholeheartedly echo Tony’s comments.