Friday, June 13, 2008

Doing One's Job

"If you don't want to provide a marriage certificate and you've got a job that does that, then you should think twice about why you got the job in the first place and maybe you should get a new job."
--San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom

Newsom made this comment in response to San Diego County Clerk Gregory Smith, who said he may allow those clerks who object to same-sex marriage to refuse to process them, now that California has decided to allow same-sex marriage.

Newsom went on to say, "This is a civil marriage that civil servants have a responsibility to provide, so for civil servants on religious grounds to start passing judgments, they, I think, are breaking the core tenet of what civil service is all about."

"I've got very strong religious beliefs. So now, all of a sudden, I don't have to do certain things, even though that's my responsibility as mayor?"

I think Newsom hit the nail on the head. Marriage license clerks in California, along with pharmacists in every state, who have religious objections to carrying out certain aspects of their jobs ought to consider changing employment. They have a right to their opinions, of course, but they don't have a right to force these opinions on others by refusing to process same-sex marriages in one case and filling birth control and morning after pill prescriptions in the other.

When I was on the police force, there were certain laws I didn't enjoy enforcing, but it was part of the job. If I'd refused to do so, the city would have been well within its rights to fire me, as I'd agreed to enforce all laws when I put on the badge, not just the ones I agreed with. I don't see why it should be any different for marriage license clerks or pharmacists.


No comments: