As this issue of Church & State was going to press, Americans United filed a lawsuit on behalf of a West Virginia same-sex couple who were harassed and disparaged by a county clerk. The two women, Amanda Abramovich and Samantha Brookover, visited the Gilmer County Clerk’s Office on Feb. 3, 2016, to obtain a marriage license. They were insulted by Deputy Clerk Debbie Allen, who called them an “abomination” to God and said God would “deal” with them.
Editor’s note: This post was written by Samantha Brookover and Amanda Abramovich of West Virginia, the two plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit Americans United and our allies filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. On their wedding day in February 2016, the high-school sweethearts were harassed and disparaged by a Gilmer County clerk who cited her religion-based opposition to marriage for same-sex couples.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Fairness West Virginia and the law firm of Mayer Brown today filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a West Virginia same-sex couple that was harassed and disparaged by a county clerk who cited religious objections to issuing the women a marriage license.
High-school sweethearts Amanda Abramovich and Samantha Brookover visited the Gilmer County Clerk’s Office on Feb. 3, 2016, to obtain a marriage license. Abramovich and Brookover were accompanied by family members to celebrate the happy occasion.
This blog is often the bearer of bad news – we may report about a public school district trying to teach creationism, an attack on LGBT rights by a Religious Right group, an effort by a large and powerful church to secure tax funding for its private school system, etc.
But today’s story is good news. It may, in fact, even warm your heart a little.
Let’s set the stage a bit: In April of 2013, a senior at George Washington High School in Charleston, W.Va., was dismayed after school officials invited a speaker to come in and talk about “God’s plan for sexual purity.”
A federal court has dismissed a lawsuit by a parent who claimed the teaching of evolution in public schools violated his rights.
Kenneth Smith of Harpers Ferry, W. Va., filed suit against the Jefferson County Board of Education, the State Superintendent, the National Institutes of Health (and its director, Francis Collins) and the U.S. Department of Education. He represented himself.
A West Virginia man is suing state and federal government bodies over the teaching of evolution in public schools. Kenneth Smith’s lawsuit names the Jefferson County Board of Education, the state school superintendent, the director of the National Institutes of Health and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as plaintiffs; it argues that his daughter will not be accepted to veterinary school because her schools teach evolution as fact.
Recently I had occasion to talk with Ellery Schempp, the plaintiff in the landmark 1963 school prayer and Bible reading case Abington Township School District v. Schempp. The 50th anniversary of that ruling is in June, and we’ll have a story about the case in the forthcoming May issue of Church & State.