The Instigator
planck
Pro (for)
Winning
4 Points
The Contender
jlara00
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Government employees may not use their religion to refuse the issue of gay marriage licenses

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
planck
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/1/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 586 times Debate No: 79263
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)

 

planck

Pro

A county clerk is an elected official who is required to perform all the legal acts of his or her office. If the clerk refuses, for personally held religious beliefs, to issue a wedding license to a gay couple, when such a wedding is legal in the state, that clerk must either resign or be fired.

BOP is shared. First round acceptance and statement of position. Second round rebuttals, third round arguments, fourth round rebuttals. Fifth round summary.
jlara00

Con

Thank you for this debate. I will just say that I have an argument prepared and that this is going to be a good debate.

A county clerk does have other responsibilities than just marriage. The whole thing with personal beliefs can be because of other factors not just personal beliefs.
Debate Round No. 1
planck

Pro

A county clerk can have many responsibilities, depending upon the requirements of his or her county government. Usually, the issuance of various licenses is among those responsibilities. It's important to understand, for the purposes of this debate, that the criteria for license eligibility is not determined by the clerk, but by the legislative bodies of the county, state, or federal government. The rules determining who can get a drivers license, for example; physical requirements, age, ability to pass a driving test, knowledge of traffic law, etc are all determined by the state. The county clerks only responsibility (in this example) is to determine if the applicant meets those requirements and, if so, to issue the license. A clerk who, for example, routinely denies applicants, who meet all the state's drivers license requirements, simply because she didn't approve of their family backgrounds would be acting outside of her authority and should, properly, be disciplined for that breach of authority no matter how well she might perform every other aspect of her job.
jlara00

Con

Ok just saying a drivers license and gay marriage are two totally different things. If a gay couple wants to get married in a state such as Texas then a county clerk has the right to deny them. Gay marriage in 13 states is still illegal. So if a county clerk has to deny them because of a law then it must be done. A county clerk who denies them in a state where it is legal then the couple may not have met all the criteria but because it is a gay couple people are going to push that it is simply because they are gay. Now if they meet all the criteria and a county clerk denies them it doesn't shouldn't concern anyone because the county clerk is hired to accept and decline people not for everyone to get involved when they deny someone. If they do it to a straight couple would as many people argue about it? Probably not but because the couple is gay it makes the whole thing go to a new level. A county clerk has the right to make a decision based on their opinions/experiences. If the couple decides to take action and report the clerk than that is on them. A gay couple can do that as well as a straight couple but again the couple is gay so that is why everyone would think they are getting denied.
Debate Round No. 2
planck

Pro

In states in which same sex marriage is not legal, a county clerk is obligated to deny such a couple a license because they would fail to meet the state established criteria for a license. The clerk has no discretion in the matter. If, as in Kentucky, same sex marriage is legal, a gay couple who meet all the other state established criteria for a license MUST be issued a license. Again, this is not an area where the clerk can exercise discretion - contrary to what Con has asserted. In the Kentucky case, the clerk specifically stated that she refused to issue a license because the applicants were gay.

The Kentucky clerk also has another problem. She swore an oath, to God, to support the constitutional laws of Kentucky which now support gay marriage. She also believes that her God, presumably the same one she swore the oath to, curses gay marriage. This presents an ethical conflict that can only be resolved by her resignation. She hasn't done so - probably in large measure because of her $80,000 salary. Instead she's refusing to issue any marriage licenses to anyone. Any sensible employer would fire her for that.
jlara00

Con

jlara00 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
planck

Pro

The overall principle regarding government services is that the government of a constitutional democracy must make all of it's public services available to every one of it's citizens who requests it. Anyone who applies for a government job makes that implicit promise upon accepting such a job. If an applicant feels, for whatever reason, that he or she is unable to serve a particular group of people that applicant is, for all intents, seeking employment on fraudulent grounds. If, during employment a new section of the public is added to the list of those to be served and the employee is not willing to serve that group the employee is making the admission that he is unable to perform all of his job requirements. It becomes, then, a management problem as to how to treat that employee and apply appropriate disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.
jlara00

Con

In each state there are multiple county clerks if what I am reading is correct. If that is the case I am sure if one of them has a religious problem with it they can discuss it with their boss. The boss has other people to send the couple too. Or maybe tell them from the start that it is against your religion so if they need you then they will send only straight couples. If you think about it though why take a job like that unless you are prepared to have to deal with a situation like that.

A county clerk has the right to do what he/she feels is right.
Debate Round No. 4
planck

Pro

The whole point I want to make in this debate is that, unlike Con's assertion in the last round, a county clerk, or any other government employee does NOT have the choice to do what he or she feels is right, as regards whether or not to perform the duties of the office to which they've been appointed or elected. If they feel that their job requires them to do something that is against their beliefs the only honorable options are to either resign or request reassignment. A soldier doesn't have the right to decide what combat assignment he'll accept, a policeman can't decide what laws to enforce, and a county clerk can't decide which couples, of those who meet all the legal requirements for marriage, she'll issue a license to. If any government employee believes, for any reason, that they can't fulfill the duties of their office, as defined by the government who writes their paycheck, they shouldn't be in that office. Would any employer, government or private business, keep on an employee who tells them that they refuse to perform all the requirements in their job description but still insists on being paid their full salary?

I thank Con for this debate and the interesting points Con provided.
jlara00

Con

The point I am trying to make is that if they get hired then they should have the right to deny a gay couple if it goes against their religion. If any one has a problem they can complain. You can deny couples at your own risk. That is their choice. Thank you for the debate. Good job!
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by tajshar2k 1 year ago
tajshar2k
Gay marriage in 13 states is still illegal. Actually, a couple months ago, the SCOTUS ruled gay marriage legal. Its completely legal now.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Midnight1131 1 year ago
Midnight1131
planckjlara00Tied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: FF so conduct to Pro. Arguments to Pro as well, because they showed that county clerks have a responsibility to their state and it's constitution. Con's rebuttal was pretty weak, they said that they "think" county clerks should be able to do whatever they want. This is a pretty weak rebuttal, because it's just Con's opinion. Not to mention that Pro is correct when they state that county clerks have to follow the laws of their government. Due to Pro having shown that county clerks, like everyone else, has the responsibility to do the job and duties that they were hired to do, they win.