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06/10/2008

Butte buttin' out of marriage game

by Jeremy Hooper

200806101356Citing an inability to afford them, Butte County, California, has announced that they'll soon stop performing any and all wedding ceremonies. However, County Clerk Candace Grubbs denies it has anything to do with impending same-sex unions:

Butte County halts marriages because of budget constraints [AP via KESQ]

Now, this decision comes a week after Kern County,CA, stopped performing weddings amidst administrative excuses, before it was later revealed that a non-desire to marry gay couples was the more rampant reasoning behind the marital kibosh. So what's the deal here? Is it just a coincidence that the earmarked funds ran out exactly when the gays started lining up, or are the money woes just cover? Are we really to believe that Butte Co. is acting purely out of financial concerns, or should we just go ahead and expect some anti-gay info to come out by week's end? Is this the new trend we're going to see in California counties -- officials taking their marital toys and going home because they can't have their way?

We'll keep you posted if/when we learn more. Our cynical side has a hard time believing those developments will be gay-positive.

**UPDATE: Or then again, maybe the kibosh is not gay-unfriendly. A diarist at Pam's House Blend has chatted with Candace Grubbs, and has walked away convinced that her motives are pure:

Butte County California Stops Wedding Ceremonies For Good Reasons [PHB]

**UPDATE2: SF Chronicle has more on the marriage-denying counties. Most interesting quote is from Steve Weir, president of the California Association of Clerks and Elected Officials, who essentially says that the budget excuse is a red herring:

A few California counties refusing to marry same-sex couples - citing budget restraints [SF Gate]

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Your thoughts

There's a Diary up at the blend discussing this very issue. However it looks based on the phone calls of the individual to Candace Grubbs that it really is sincere and she holds no animosity towards LGBTs.

"In California, for a small fee through Ms. Grubbs office, ANYONE may officiate at a single wedding. They apply, get trained in how to fill out the paper work, and officiate at the one wedding. Way cool. Ms. Grubbs thinks this is so much more personal and pleasant an option than one of her staff, unknown to the couple, officiating at the nuptials."

The diarist also did some number crunching of his own and would appear that Butte County is being sincere.

http://www.pamshouseblend.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=5717

Posted by: Daimeon | Jun 10, 2008 2:32:29 PM

I am glad he had a chance to speak to the Clerk. It at least forewarned her that 'people knew.' Of course being interviews by the local newspaper and having the article on the front page of the local paper did too. I had sent a tickle to the editor asking if he knew her stance yesterday, as it seemed to me important that the citizens of Butte County be aware of any changes in the Clerk/Recorder Office policy/rules on weddings.

Here is my response to that Diary post.

They still say on their website that they perform weddings... or I suppose they could have fired the IT guy! Also the budget crunch discussion has been going on for months not just since June 3. Here is current web announcement to call for a Civil Wedding.
No I did not try the phone #.

Civil Wedding Ceremonies
Civil wedding ceremonies are available in our office. Ceremonies are by appointment only. The fee is $37.00. Appointments must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance. You may schedule an appointment by calling (530) 538-7691.

And wedding applications are for boy Teddybears and girl Teddybears only and still say groom, father of the groom, mother of the groom. bride, father of the bride, mother of the bride etc. I kid you not here is website.

clerk-recorder.buttecounty.net/clerk/pdf/marriage_license_application.pdf

PS There is also a 'confidential' one for those who are 'already living together' and presumbably pregers or some such. This one has chickies. ?Reason?

clerk-recorder.buttecounty.net/clerk/pdf/confidential_marriage_license_application.pdf

I truly do hope all goes well in OUR county. It certainly sounds like we have a better chance of it here than in Kern.

Good luck, and good Love to ALL who plan to marry beginning next week.

Posted by: LOrion | Jun 10, 2008 8:40:58 PM

D*** it's embarrassing to be in a homobigot county. But we're working on it.
Just a note to eveyone, SF Chronicle picked up the story too. They intereviewed Steve Weir of Contra Costa, the President of the County Clerks Assoc. who says funding in a NO GO excuse, it is written right in the state regulations that counties may charge any amount needed to recoup all costs.

PS Steve will be first one married in Contra Costa .... supposed to have a lovely wedding chapel set up.

The new report on KERN is that the POLICE say they will be there to enforce the NO MARRIAGES in KERN stance of the county clerk. and the June Board of Supervisors meeting is over, further discussion tabled to July. HA!! Thats what they think!

Posted by: LOrion | Jun 10, 2008 10:54:06 PM

Friday June 13 update. I contacted a person in our City IT about how the website for the County still had not changed the fact that it advertised weddings being performed and the applications were still for GROOMS (yes first!) and BRIDES, and still had Groom TEDDYBEAR and BRIDE Teddybear on top.
Well got SAME DAY results, ceremony announcement gone, applications without cartoons are now for PARTY A and PARTY B!
And since Gavin has so kindly volunteered to officiate at weddings here, we should be ON next week.

Posted by: LOrion | Jun 13, 2008 10:09:30 AM

I am available to perform gay/straight/ANY weddings. Check out my site. All are welcome! Serving Butte, Glenn, Tehama and Shasta counties.

Posted by: Julie Estes | Jul 19, 2008 12:24:44 PM

I wonder what Candace thinks about marriage between a man and a woman and if she should keep her claws out of other women's husbands?

Posted by: Jane | Oct 15, 2009 12:55:02 PM

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