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Morally Getting Out of Doing Your Job

Marriage equality became law in New York last week. When it takes effect next month, however, there is at least one place in the state where folks can expect some sparks. The 75-year-old town clerk  of Volney, NY, one Barbara MacEwan, says that she will refuse to sign her name to any marriage licenses for gay couples because it is against her "morals and [her] God." Says MacEwan:

“I’m not objecting to having it done here in the office, but I’m objecting to being forced to sign my name to something that is against my morals and my God,” said MacEwen, who has been town clerk for 18 years. “I don’t want to have to leave my position, and I still feel strongly about not wanting to sign, but I’m not sure if there’s another way around it.”

What is a public servant who doesn't want to serve all of the public to do? Poor thing. She had a good run until the law changed, allowing those uppity gay folk to marry one another. But in all seriousness, I don't have much sympathy for the plight of Ms. MacEwan. She was elected to serve the people of Volney, NY. She's not allowed to pick and choose, surely?

This reminds me of the news stories we hear about from time-to-time of pharmacists who refuse (or want to refuse) the 'morning after' pill to women who are within their legal rights to ask for it. The pharmacists try to make it about their personal, moral convictions, but I've always wondered: How far is this allowed to go? What if a liberal who works at a bookstore refuses to ring-up a book by a conservative pundit/politician because they morally disagree with them? Are they within their rights?

I dunno. I can wholly respect that folks have their principles and beliefs -- be they religious or secular -- and can appreciate that they don't want to go against them. But then I also believe in professionalism. People get paid to do jobs. Shouldn't that be enough? And, if it isn't, then at least someone who is elected by "the people," and whose salary is no doubt paid by taxpayer dollars (among them gay taxpayers) should be required to do her job. All of it.


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