Current Affairs

Clerk’s Valentines protest at gay inequality

PinkNews Staff Writer February 6, 2007
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A county clerk-recorder in California is to hand out “certificates of inequality” to gay couples on Valentine’s Day.

United Press International reports that Freddie Oakley designed the certificates herself.

She said she believes she should be able to give gay couples marriage licences.

“We don’t discriminate against people on the basis of age, or health, or disability, or race, or ethnicity, or religion, but we do on the basis of gender in this matter,” Oakley told UPI.

“I feel it’s inappropriate.”

Valentines Day is observed by many gay and lesbian Americans as Freedom to Marry day, when they come to county clerk’s offices to highlight their inability to have legal unions.

Only one American state, Massachusetts, recognises gay marriage, while a few have civil partnership laws.

UPI reports that supporters of a ban on gay marriage said that as a public official Oakely is obliged to uphold California’s laws.

“The people pay government officials to implement the law and to faithfully execute the law … not to ridicule the law and perform stunts that advocate the overthrow of marriage,” Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, told the Sacramento Bee.

The constitutionality of California’s current law banning gay marriage is currently before the state Supreme Court.

Assemblyman Mark Leno, a Democrat from San Francisco, recently reintroduced legislation to legalise gay marriage after Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the idea in 2005.

“I issue this Certificate of Inequality to you because your choice of marriage partner displeases some people whose displeasure is, apparently, more important than principles of equality,” the certificate reads, reports the Bee.

Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, which is sponsoring Leno’s gay marriage bill, told the Bee that Oakley is taking an important stand.

“She’s sworn to uphold the state and federal constitutions that provide for equal protection,” Kors said.

“But at this point, she’s unable to do that.”

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