Attorney General Jackley’s Response to ACLU on Same-Sex Marriage


Attorney General Jackley’s Response to ACLU on Same-Sex Marriage

PIERRE – “It is disappointing to learn that the ACLU, who in their own words, works to “defend and preserve the Constitution’s promise of liberty for everyone in our country”, is now choosing to place certain Constitutional Rights ahead of others.

As South Dakota’s Attorney General, I do not have the luxury of ignoring the long-established law requiring Constitutional Rights to coexist or overlooking federal requirements calling for reasonable accommodations to protect the Constitutional Rights of all individuals.

As Attorney General, it is not my intent to ignore established law and sue a county or arrest a county employee for exercising the well-established Constitution Right to the Freedom of Religion given that same-sex couples have been and are receiving marriage licenses in South Dakota. Rather than accepting the ACLU’s position, I support commonsense solutions protecting everyone’s Constitutional Rights in South Dakota which ensure same-sex couples continue receiving marriage licenses as now required by law,” said Attorney General Jackley.


17 thoughts on “Attorney General Jackley’s Response to ACLU on Same-Sex Marriage”

  1. I believe that the Attorney General needs to spell out all of those instances when a county worker may be allowed to refuse assistance to a citizen. Can persons previously divorced be refused service on religious grounds? Atheists? Those of “immoral” character? Interracial marriage applicants? Interdenominational marriage?

    Or. Just. Gays.

  2. Sorry but if the job requires you to issue wedding licenses to gays you need to do so. You decided to open yourself up to this when you took the job and the job is at will so they can always leave and find another that doesn’t require actions you disagree with. Also it doesn’t violate their rights of religious freedom because they volunteered to take the job

    1. So you are of the ilk that believes you have to leave your beliefs and religion at the door? Are you also okay with the LGBT folks being required to go elsewhere for a cake? Do you believe that a VA hospital doc should be required to perform an abortion for someone because they opened themselves up to this sort of thing?

      I guess freedom of religion is not something that has a lot of support from the “tolerant” left.

  3. A public employee has an obligation to serve the public according to the law. If their job is to assist a citizen get a license, permit, pay taxes, etc., they are to professionally provide the assistance without regard to their personal feelings. If the employee has a moral objection to performance of their duties, one of two things must occur:

    The employee finds another job with another employer/agency or within that agency (and if the employee is a good employee it is in their interest to do their best to facilitate the transfer).Or,

    The employer makes an adjustment of duties and/or assignment of a particular task which does not affect the service provided to the citizen. Let me give some examples:

    1) A pharmacist has a moral objection to providing birth control, the pharmacist discretely asks another pharmacist to fill the prescription.

    2) An employee at the Humane Society has a moral objection or squeamishness to euthanizing dogs, another employee performs the euthanization.

    If within an office there are multiple people who can assist a person coming for a license and within the team they can appropriately decide who assists who, let the team allocate the particular service.

    Now, Jimmy James et. al. might not agree with the moral position of the county employee, a pro-contraception person might not agree with the moral position of the pharmacist, or a person against animal cruelty might not agree with the person who won’t euthanize. In my mind, so what? If the job gets done, the customer/citizen shouldn’t care who or how it gets done.

    Tolerance isn’t demanding another accept your position or demanding another accommodate oneself. Tolerance is allowing and respecting another to follow their conscience in opposition to your position. And, those who want greater tolerance of gays, having an attitude of intolerance isn’t going to get the job done.

    Employers accommodate employees personal needs and in some cases idiosyncracies all the time. If an accommodation can be made without impacting service, it should be done from an attitude of generosity and tolerance.

    Recently, I had a client who had the following issue. As a matter of company policy, if you drove for business over so many miles, you MUST use a company car from the pool if available. This policy was for these reasons: Marketing (showed the company “on the job’), insurance, and accountability while traveling on company business. One of the employees had made a personal commitment to only drive very efficient, environmental friendly vehicles (hybrids, etc.) but most of the available company cars were pickups, SUV’s, or larger cars. This person’s duties didn’t need such a large vehicle. Compromise: The employee bought two magnetic signs with the company logo to put on the side of her car and drove her own car being reimbursed for mileage. Yes, some of the other employees groused of the exception because “it wasn’t fair” and they wanted to drive their car too.

    1. What happens when a small county’s employee has a religious objection to gay marriage and it forces a homosexual couple to travel to another county to get recognition? I don’t have a problem with shifting the duty to somebody else, so long as it isn’t introducing more hoops for gay couples to jump through in order to get married, and I see that being a problem in small counties.

    2. If this employee were to work as a clerk in a courthouse would the same standard be acceptable??? Should an exception be made so that employee did not have to issue tags to vehicles that are not environmentally friendly . The private employer has every right to make whatever exceptions they deem appropriate irregardless of the fairness, but is this something that we want agents of the State to be doing?

  4. Dicta, what you describe is a diminishment of service to the couple and to me is not reasonable. That said, I don’t think any Clerk of Court in the state has only one employee. I think this can be done professionally and appropriately for all concerned if everyone approaches this with generosity and tolerance.

  5. “Tolerance isn’t demanding another accept your position or demanding another accommodate oneself. Tolerance is allowing and respecting another to follow their conscience in opposition to your position.” I have been trying to say this too, but not as well as Troy did. Respect goes both ways, as does tolerance.

    1. This is a misleading framing of the situation, though. When a person acts as an employee of the government, they act with their authority. I’d be with you if this was a question of the private sector, but this “acceptance” spiel seem disingenuous here.

  6. So Dak 1 and maybe Dicta,

    Just to be clear, to the customer/citizen the service must be indistinguishable. Public service is just that. The internal accommodation among employees is what employers try to do for a lot of reasons, including employee morale.

    Just another example: Company doesn’t allow comp time and wants business essentially fully staffed during working hours. Employee’s mom needs transportation to doctor. Employer and team sit down and say “how can we accommodate a fellow team member?”

    There are SS couples in our midst who have been extended the legal ability to be married and there are others in our midst who disagree (and are unlikely to change their view). We can either decide to make this a battle of wills and source of division or find ways accommodate difference with an attitude of tolerance and generosity. Choice is ours.

    1. But this begs the question: will this not lead to hiring practices that require asking about religious proclivities? If small counties already have a couple employees charged with issuing marriage licenses and are opposed to gay marriage, who do they hire next? If that person also has religious objections, they could be overlooked for someone less qualified. Then what? I get what you are saying in principle, Troy, but the devil is in the details and your proposal could cause a lot of issues in a rural state like South Dakota.

  7. Separation of church and state should include that the church does church things and the state does state things. Maybe the church should define marriage and the state should define what a civil union is.
    An employee should follow the rules of the employer or quit or be fired or have a discussion with the employer. That includes employees of businesses, government and churches and other nonprofits. Any change in management or management style will cause some turnover of employees. When Iacoco became CEO at Chrysler within one year they went from thirty some vice presidents to seven and only one of those seven had been there before.

  8. Anonymous 11:56:

    If I have a moral objection to alcohol, I have to leave my religion/morals at the door to be a bartender. I’ve turned down a lot of work not because the engagement was illegal or even objectively unethical. I just didn’t agree with the objective.

    I think if we want there to be accommodation for people’s religious convictions, we have to be reasonable when we ask for accommodation and accept there might be some jobs we just can’t perform out of religious conviction.

    The law is two people regardless of gender can come to the Court House and ask for a license. If a person has moral objections to doing their job, they can ask for accommodation (which hopefully it can be done) or find a job they have no moral objections from performing.

  9. The fact that the homosexual lobby wants to force everyone from county clerks to bakers to participate in their activities is proof that their claims that they simply want acceptance and equality have been and will continue to be lies. What they want is to make it unacceptable and even illegal to disagree with them. Mark my words, an organized movement to force the churches to accept and the clergy to perform so-called same-sex marriages is already forming.

    1. Oh please! Stop the fear mongering! “Force”?

      “Mark my words, an organized movement to force the churches to accept and the clergy to perform so-called same-sex marriages is already forming.”

      Why would anyone want to have such a Sacred one of the most important days of their lives held at a religious place that others and themselves feel uncomfortable at? That does not make any sense.

      The vast majority of what you feel threatened by just want to live their lives without drama and conflict just like anyone else.

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