Target: Wyoming State Representative Nathan Winters
Goal: Abandon proposal that would allow clerks to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples if it conflicted with their religious beliefs
Nathan Winters, a Republican state representative in Wyoming, has recently introduced a bill that would make it legal for Christian county clerks to deny same-sex couples marriage licenses on the basis of religious belief. This is a blatant overreach that should not even be risked at passing into state law. Demand that Representative Winters abandon his bill.
Representative Winters was clearly not very happy when his state’s Supreme Court ordered Wyoming’s county clerks to start issuing same-sex marriage licenses, and introduced this discriminatory bill, known both as House Bill 83 and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The bill, if successful, would do two things: One, it would grant anyone in a government position with “a sincerely held religious belief” the right to not be punished for refusing to do something that would go against those religious beliefs—like issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. And two, it would create avenues for these people who felt that their religious liberty had been infringed upon to sue the government or particular officials for doing so—like forcing them to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because it is the law.
Apparently, the intricacies of the doctrine of separation of church and state are lost on Representative Winters. Sign the petition below to demand that he abandon his blatantly discriminatory and illegal bill immediately.
Dear Representative Winters,
I am writing you today about your House Bill 83, also known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This proposal is illegal and should be thrown out without delay.
People who hold positions in government do not, by virtue of their position within government, have the right to let personal religious beliefs interfere with the carrying out of duties that are, by definition and law, not affiliated with any religion or religious tradition. This is due to the separation of church and state and the Establishment Clause contained in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Regardless of how a county clerk’s religious background interprets same-sex marriage, the government’s prerogative, and therefore that of those who carry out its duties, is impartiality.
The blatant violation of these rules implicit in your bill are not difficult to grasp. Continuing to push it would be in bad faith and ultimately futile. I demand that you abandon your discriminatory bill immediately.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Permjak via Wikimedia Commons