The mayor has replaced the Decatur County, Tennessee, Clerk, who, along with all her deputies, resigned rather that issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
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Decatur County, in west Tennessee, was unable to issue marriage licenses last week after County Clerk Gwen Pope and both of her assistants, Sharon Bell and Mickey Butler, resigned rather than comply with the Supreme Court's marriage order because of their religious beliefs.
Ms. Pope (photo left) told reporters none of them had any idea what they would do to support themselves, but trusted that God would figure it out for them.
“It’s kind of sort of like you don’t want to draw attention to yourself for any reason,” Pope said. “That’s not why we’re doing this. Not doing it in any way to draw attention to us. It’s for the glory of God. He’s going to get all the glory."
Now, the Mayor of Decatur County, Mike Creasy, has figured out how the County Clerk's Office can go on without Ms. Pope. The mayor, who says he, like Ms. Pope, personally believes in marriage discrimination, released a statement saying he recognizes that the Supreme Court ruling must be followed. In order to assure Decatur County is in compliance with Obergefell, Mayor Creasy has appointed an interim clerk to run the Decatur County Clerk's Office.
Mayor Creasy announced the appointment of commissioner Jack Martin (photo right) as Decatur County’s new interim county clerk. Mr. Martin has affirmed his willingness to follow the Constitution regardless of his own religious beliefs, and will serve until someone can be appointed by the County Commission. It is expected that Decatur County will be able to issue marriage licenses to all eligible couples as soon as Monday morning.
Here is Mayor Creasy's statement:
"The United States Supreme Court recently issued a ruling that Tennessee must recognize same sex marriage and issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. In my opinion, the Supreme Court overstepped its authority with that decision, especially when 81% of Tennesseans voted for a constitutional amendment outlawing same sex marriage. Although I strongly disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision, I, as an elected official, must set aside my personal beliefs and follow the law. But in light of the Supreme Court’s decision, our County Clerk, Gwen Pope, did not feel like that she could issue marriage licenses to persons of the same sex. Ms. Pope, as a result, tendered her resignation, effective July 5, 2015, as County Clerk.
Now, with Ms. Pope’s resignation, in accordance with state law, a temporary successor county clerk has been named. Mr. Jack Martin is now Decatur County’s County Clerk. Mr. Martin will serve until the County Commission appoints another person. Meanwhile, Mr. Martin has taken the oath of office, including affirming his obligation and willingness to follow the law, whether he personally agrees with the law or not.
I do want to express my thanks to Ms. Pope for her years of service to Decatur County. She has served it well. Plus, I appreciate her standing by her personal convictions. At the same time, I am glad that we have resolved this matter, and I look forward to working with Mr. Martin and whomever the County Commission later appoints as County Clerk.”
No word yet on what employment opportunities God has come up with for Ms. Pope and her staff, but we'll check back. He may be too busy reveling in all the glorying.
Photos are screenshots from WKRN