• 64°

Probate judge’s decision deserves support

I could say a lot about the recent decision by the Supreme Court to force all states to recognize same-sex marriages. However, I would like to focus on the very difficult position into which some of our probate judges have been placed. First of all, I would like to say that I have no hatred or animus toward anyone who agrees with same-sex marriage. My purpose is not to attack anyone. My purpose is to defend our judges who have decided not to issue marriage licenses for very good reasons. One of the main reasons for my support is the fact that when our probate judges began their job, they had a definite grasp of what they would be asked to do in regard to marriage. Part of that list definitely did not include marrying people of the same sex. Now that same sex marriage has been forced upon us – which could not be clearer to the people of Alabama who passed the sanctity of marriage amendment in 2006 by an 81% vote – some of our probate judges have been put in a very difficult position. They now have at least three options if they disagree with the court’s ruling: issue marriage licenses even to those of the same sex, don’t issue them at all or quit their job so as not to be forced to violate their consciences. I do not think that it is fair to expect our probate judges to quit. If the Supreme Court decides that a dying person has a right to lethal injection by his or her doctor if that person is suffering and wants to die, should a doctor be forced to cooperate in the evil act of so called mercy killing? I think that it is somewhat similar with our judges. This is not a matter of some small insignificant change. This is a fundamental change to what marriage is, and for a very significant percentage of us, it means a severe blow to the family. It also means that the right of children to be raised by their mother and father, if that is at all possible, will be further hindered. In America, we can all particularly appreciate the idea that a person should not be forced to do something which he or she thinks and believes to be wrong for very good reasons. I think, even though it will mean a good amount of inconvenience for some of us, we should do everything that we can to support our probate judges if they choose not to issue marriage licenses. In this way we can send a strong message to our government leaders that we object to this bad ruling and are even willing to endure hardship to make the point.

The Rev. Den Irwin

Pastor, St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church