KNOXVILLE (WATE) – In a letter sent to all 95 county clerks, a state representative urged officials to “ignore” the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage and “issue marriage licenses to one man and one woman only.”
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State Rep. Rick Womick of Rockvale wrote a letter on July 21 to county clerks asking them to ignore the opinion of the justices.
Such intimidation from this administration is unconstitutional and should not be tolerated. Each of you are publicly elected servants of your county, held accountable only to the people that elect you. You swore an oath of office to uphold the Tennessee State Constitution and to enforce the Tennessee Code Annotated. You did not take an oath to uphold an “opinion” from five justices of the SCOTUS. Therefore, I am asking that each of you ignore the recent SCOTUS opinion redefining marriage, uphold our State Constitution, and issue marriage certificates to one man and one woman only.
In a letter to the press sent on Tuesday, Womick further expresses his views on the recent Supreme Courts decision.
Each of Tennessee’s County Clerks are publicly elected servants of their county. They are held accountable only to the people that elected them and to their oath of office, not to the SCOTUS, Governor Haslam, or Attorney General Herbert Slatery III.
Womick ended the letter to the press by stating:
I encourage Governor Haslam to stop playing politics with the lives of Tennessee soldiers and allow them to carry their personal firearms while in uniform and while on state controlled installations. The Governor found it convenient to immediately support homosexual marriage, he should show that same enthusiasm and leadership in support our soldiers!
Hedy Weinburg, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, issued this statement:
Representative Womick’s letter is an irresponsible abuse of his position. The U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in Obergefell made it clear that marriage is a fundamental right protected by the U.S. Constitution. Governor Haslam and Attorney General Slatery were right to uphold the law by ensuring that government offices in Tennessee implemented the Supreme Court’s ruling. Representative Womick’s grandstanding encourages county clerks to violate the Constitution, potentially exposing them to litigation should they heed his misleading opinions.