St. Mary’s County, Clerk of the Court, Joan W. Williams, in a statement to the media, said some of her clerks will no longer perform civil ceremonies. Williams stated in the Washington Examiner, “that some of her employees are opposed to gay marriage for religious reasons. As a result, she decided those deputy clerks won’t perform any marriages as a way of respecting their beliefs and will be assigned other duties.”
After contacting the Clerk of the Court’s Office and being referred to the Judicial Administrative – Communications & Public Affairs Office for the Judiciary, spokesperson, Terri Bolling stated, “There is no judiciary-wide policy allowing Clerks or Deputy Clerks to opt-out of performing same sex marriages.”
Bolling also stated “that in St. Mary’s County, applications for same sex marriages will begin being accepted on Jan. 2 and that the first ceremonies will be performed on Jan. 4. The acceptance and performance of same sex marriage applications and ceremonies will vary depending on the specific situation for each Circuit Court, i.e., computer reprogramming, paperwork tracking procedures, etc.
“Since there is no judicial-wide policy in effect allowing Clerks or Deputy Clerks to opt-out, it will be looked into by the Human Resources and Legal Departments and that investigation will decide how to handle this situation. There may have to be a policy created to address this”, said Bolling.
She emphasized that same sex marriage applications are being accepted and ceremonies will be performed regardless of the personal beliefs of Clerks and Deputy Clerks.
Carrie Evans of Equality Maryland, a gay rights group, says “there appears to be nothing discriminatory about changing which deputy clerks perform marriages.
- In Charles County, civil ceremonies are performed Monday thru Friday from 8:30 am to 4 pm (excluding holidays). The fee is $25.00 cash only and an appointment is required. For an appointment call 301-932-3308.
- In Calvert County, civil ceremonies are performed Monday thru Friday from 9 am to 4 pm (except holidays). The fee is $25.00 cash or money order and an appointment is required. For an appointment call 410-535-1600 ext 2269.
- In St. Mary’s County, civil ceremonies are performed 2 pm to 3 pm Monday thru Friday (excluding holidays). The fee is $25.00 cash or money order and an appointment is needed. For an appointment call 301-475-7844 ext 4563 or 4576.
This article originally went up with the incorrect title of “Some Clerks Say They Will No Longer Perform Civil Ceremonies” The correct title is “Some Clerks Will No Longer Perform Civil Ceremonies” The incorrect title was up for up for less than 10 minutes, we sorry for any confusion it may have caused.