County Clerk Allegedly Called Their RelationshipÂ an ‘Abomination to God’
Amanda Abramovich and Samantha Brookover originally tried to marry in 2014, after their home state of West Virginia legalized same-sex marriage. At the time, the couple, high school sweethearts together now over six years, were denied a license in Gilmer County by a clerk who told them that they each needed an in-county driver’s license in order to get a marriage license.
In February of 2016, seven months after the Obergefell decision that made same-sex marriage legal across the U.S., the couple applied for their marriage license a second time. According to a new lawsuitÂ fromÂ Americans United, a religious freedom watchdog group, the couple was harassed over their marriage application.
County Deputy Clerk Debbie Allen allegedly harassed them for several minutes, calling their relationship an â€œabominationâ€ and citing her religion as a reason for her objection to the couple. Another clerk allegedly joined in, calling the abuse Allenâ€™s “religious right.” Brookoverâ€™s mother called the office of County Clerk Jean Butcher to report the incident, but Butcher allegedly stood behind the actions of the deputy clerks.
“Allen launched into a tirade of harassment and disparagement. She slammed her paperwork down on her desk, screaming that the couple was an ‘abomination’ to God and that God would ‘deal’ with them,” court documents claim. “Samantha was brought to tears.”
The clerk also allegedly told the couple that the county had stopped issuing marriage licenses after the Obergefell ruling. Issuing marriage licenses is still listed as a responsibility of the clerkâ€™s office on the countyâ€™s website. Â
Ambramovich and Brookover were given a marriage license and were married shortly after the incident.
Rev. Barry Lynn, the executive director of Americans United, commented on the case in a press release, saying, â€œSame-sex couples shouldnâ€™t have to run a gauntlet of harassment, religious condemnation, and discrimination in order to realize their dreams of marriage.â€
The lawsuit claims that the clerks violated the mandate set by the Obergefell case. According to the suit, they also violated the Establishment Clause, which prevents anyone acting as an agent of the government from enforcing their religious convictions onto constituents, and the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.Â
Butcher told a reporter from the Charleston Gazzette last year that her views were similar to Allenâ€™s, and that the important thing was that the couple received their marriage license.
A brief call Monday resulted in no statement from Butcher, who was unaware of the lawsuit when contacted.
UPDATE: 4.18.2017Â â€“
“Itâ€™s been an overwhelming experience this entire time, but we can survive,” Brookover told NCRM Tuesday.Â “We just never want anyone else to be dehumanized because of who they love. Love will win.”
To comment on this article and other NCRM content, visit our Facebook page.
Image viaÂ Americans United
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Just 9 Republicans Joined Democrats to Uphold the Rule of Law and Vote to Hold Steve Bannon in Criminal Contempt
Only nine House Republicans joined with every Democrat in voting to hold Trump ally Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress. Thursday afternoon’s final vote was 229-202.
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 21, 2021
Bannon refused to obey a lawful congressional subpoena ordering him to hand over documents and to submit to congressional investigators for a deposition. His legal defense was mocked by experts after he tried to invoke executive privilege.
BREAKING: The House has adopted the bipartisan H.Res.730, finding Stephen K. Bannon in contempt of Congress for failure to comply with a Congressional subpoena. The Speaker of the House will send the report to the Department of Justice for prosecution.
— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) October 21, 2021
Minority Whip Steve Scalise had directed House Republicans to vote against the motion.
Top voting rights attorney Marc Elias warns against praising the nine Republicans for doing the right thing in this one instance: “all nine of them voted against voting rights legislation,” he tweeted.
Before anyone praises them, all nine of them voted against voting rights legislation. https://t.co/QMFsczUgjk
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) October 21, 2021
‘Act of War’: Trump Blasted for ‘Chilling’ Statement Calling Election an ‘Insurrection’
Donald Trump, the twice-impeached former president, on Thursday issued what is being called a “chilling” statement on the election and the insurrection he incited.
“The insurrection took place on November 3, Election Day. January 6 was the Protest!” Trump said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.
Former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh simply and clearly calls it an “act of war.”
This statement is an act of war against America. ANY Republican who does not publicly rebuke this statement must be defeated. ANY Republican. pic.twitter.com/mVAsPXkqGK
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) October 21, 2021
U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) during debate on the House floor has “repeatedly” been “calling on Republicans to denounce the Trump statement,” according to reporter Jamie Dupree.
“All my colleagues were elected on November 3,” McGovern said. “If you believe that Election Day was an insurrection, then your election results are illegitimate.”
McGovern is not the only one to blast the Trump statement:
In debate on the January 6 investigation today on the House floor, Democrats are repeatedly bringing up this new statement from Donald Trump. Rep. Jim Clyburn D-SC says the “Big Lie” is just like the “Lost Cause” after the Civil War. pic.twitter.com/NDNHdjKrYq
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) October 21, 2021
Some journalists are also slamming the former president’s latest remarks.
S.V. Dáte, the White House correspondent at HuffPost weighed in, saying, “Donald Trump tried to overthrow American democracy after he lost his election by 7 million votes, but nearly a year later, he’s still lying. About all of it.”
Washington Post national political reporter Felicia Sonmez called it a “chilling statement … that makes clear his stance on peaceful democracy vs. violent insurrection.”
Washington Post White House bureau chief Ashley Parker pointed to the statement and said: “In which Trump’s shamelessness continues to be his political super power.”
ProPublica Senior Reporter Peter Elkind says: “This is the position of the widely embraced leader of the GOP. Republicans all behind that?”
A former president of the United States who took an oath to uphold the US Constitution: “The insurrection took place on November 3, Election Day. January 6 was the Protest!” #DonaldTrump #ThisIsGoingWell NB: almost no evidence of voter fraud has been uncovered or confirmed.
— Priscilla Huff (@phuffdaddy) October 21, 2021
Watch: Garland Destroys GOP Congressman’s False Suggestion His School Board Memo Calls Parents Terrorists
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland Thursday morning was forced to respond to repeated Republican false claims about his memo directing the DOJ to hold “discussions” with local leaders about threats of violence made against school board members, and several times had to push back hard against false accusations made by GOP Congressmen.
Franklin Graham, Stephen Miller, and countless others on the right for weeks have been falsely claiming that Garland has ordered DOJ to investigate parents merely for opposing school board decisions, mostly on mask mandates and what they claim is “critical race theory.”
U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) on Wednesday during a Judiciary Committee hearing falsely suggested Garland was calling parents’ challenging school boards domestic terrorists.
“One example of a so-called terrorist incident was a parent, merely questioning whether school board members had earned their high school diplomas. Now that might have been rude, but does that seem like an act of domestic terrorism that you or your Justice Department ought to be investigating?” Chabot asked.
“Absolutely not,” Garland replied. “And I want to be clear the Justice Department supports and defends the First Amendment right of parents to complain as vociferously as they wish, about the education of their children, about the curriculum taught in the schools. That is not what the memorandum is about at all, nor does it use the words ‘domestic terrorism’ or ‘Patriot Act.’ Like you, I can’t imagine any circumstance in which the Patriot Act would be used in the circumstances of parents complaining about their children, nor can I imagine a circumstance where they would be labeled as domestic terrorism.”
As NCRM has previously reported, school board members and educators in at least nine states this year have been targeted with threats, death threats, and often racist death threats, including in Virginia, Arizona, Connecticut, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Vermont, according to local news reports.
Ironically, it was Congressman Chabot who, a decade ago, was legitimately accused of violating the First Amendment when his staffers directed local police to confiscate video cameras at the Congressman’s town hall event, held in a public school.
Chabot, ruffled and rebuffed by Garland’s response, decided to end the inquiry there.
“Thank you I’m nearly out of time.”
Garland: That is not what the memorandum is about at all nor does it use the word domestic terrorism or patriot act pic.twitter.com/6vJqDDPcBf
— Acyn (@Acyn) October 21, 2021
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