Today is #GivingTuesday, an international day of philanthropy that kicks off the charitable season. Thanks to generous gifts from our supporters on #GivingTuesday and throughout the year, Americans United has been able to continue to fight against attacks on religious freedom.
Every few years, it seems, the issue of forced patriotism rears its ugly head in United States. Most recently, the issue surfaced again after a number of professional football players decided to “take a knee” rather than stand during the national anthem.
The players wanted to make a statement about racial injustice in America. They weren’t protesting the anthem for religious reasons, but an incident from 1940 during which a mandatory patriotic exercise was opposed on the grounds of religion is instructive.
When high-school sweethearts Amanda Abramovich and Samantha Brookover applied for a marriage license on Feb. 3, 2016, in Glenville, W.Va., they expected it to be one of the happiest days of their lives. Instead, they were on the receiving end of verbal abuse from a Gilmer County clerk who told the couple that God would “deal” with them and that they were an “abomination.”
Last year, Amanda Abramovich and Samantha Brookover were harassed by a West Virginia county clerk who ranted at them as they applied for a wedding license. The clerk called them an “abomination” and declared her belief that the same-sex couple shouldn’t be allowed to marry.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Fairness West Virginia and the law firm Mayer Brown LLP today announced the settlement of a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of a West Virginia same-sex couple who was harassed by a Gilmer County clerk who cited religious objections to marriage equality.
When high-school sweethearts Amanda Abramovich and Samantha Brookover asked for a marriage license on Feb. 3, 2016, they were subjected to a rant by Gilmer County Deputy Clerk Debbie Allen, who called the women an “abomination” to God and said their marriage shouldn’t be legal.
Amanda Abramovich and Samantha Brookover should have only happy memories of Feb. 3, 2016. After all, it is the day the high-school sweethearts applied for their marriage license.
But due to the abusive actions of a few county clerks, it is a day that Abramovich and Brookover remember with dread.
“This year when we realized our anniversary was approaching, we got knots in our stomachs,” the couple said in a statement released by Americans United. “This is the feeling we will have every year rather than the happiness of finally being legally married.”
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.”