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06/05/2008

Kern divorces self from marriage

by Jeremy Hooper

200806050844Citing a lack of available staff, officials with the clerk's office of Kern County, CA, announced yesterday that they'll no longer marry any couples, gay or straight:

County clerk will stop performing all weddings [Bakersfield Californian]

An announcement that obviously raises eyebrows among the gay rights community, considering that yesterday was also the day we received word that same-sex nuptials would not be "stayed" until after the November elections. And, of course, because we've learned to not fully trust anything that has the name "Kern."

So what do you think, kids? Is it truly "long-term administrative plans, budgetary reasons, and the need to increase security for elections" that has led Kern County to put the kibosh on wedding solemnization, or is that just a convenient excuse to keep county employees from having to facilitate queer "I dos"? Is this a case of "If you can't beat 'em then just take your toys and go home," or a simple matter of logistics? We certainly have our thoughts; let us know yours (especially if you're a local who can bring some firsthand insight).

**UPDATE: More on Kern County's 'I don'ts' [G-A-Y]

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Your thoughts

Let's be charitable: I'm sure the real reason is that the clerk just had nothing to wear and was too ashamed to admit it!

Posted by: Lev Raphael | Jun 5, 2008 9:57:44 AM

It's no surprise the county clerk's office went this route. The office couldn't even give an answer when asked about whether they would issue licenses on the big day. I live here and I officially hate this county.

Posted by: Eddie | Jun 5, 2008 10:08:46 AM

Oh I am sure it has to do with the ruling. It is one of the most conservative counties in the state.

Posted by: mike w | Jun 5, 2008 10:12:41 AM

I heard on a news broadcast on Out-Q that many clerk's offices are asking people interested in volunteering to help with paperwork, etc. contact them. I remember they also did this in Massachusetts. As Eddie posted above - it does sound like Kern would be a county to "hate".

Posted by: tom | Jun 5, 2008 10:23:45 AM

And in Contra Costa there is a whole room set up as a wedding chapel! I say go for it, push, at least demand a space and 'hire' a local judge of the peace for the week or so of the first rush, see if they can refuse to have weddings on the premises.

Posted by: LOrion | Jun 5, 2008 10:52:27 AM

Yeah, im from around here and its filled with conservatives. Its a shame.

Posted by: | Jun 5, 2008 12:07:44 PM

Oooh, isn't that where William Bolthouse is from?

Posted by: Daimeon | Jun 5, 2008 1:42:16 PM

I was born and raised in the city of Bakersfield in Kern County and I can atest to the bigotry and homophobic mindset of a vast majority of the community; it's a relatively republican, conservative, christian populous.

Posted by: Greg | Jun 5, 2008 2:25:12 PM

I'm gonna play devils advocate for a bit.. Not because I necessarily believe it but just for the hell of it..

now we all know that on the BIG DAY... Clerks offices will be flooded with requests from same sex couples not just who live in California but also from other states since unlike Mass., Cali. doesn't have a resident clause.... So how many people do you think will try to skip the lines of the big cities and go to smaller counties or counties that border other states? i would like to think that Kern County like many smaller counties in California and most states don't have the resources(financial or manpower) to deal with a hundred requests much less a thousand....

Posted by: matthieu | Jun 5, 2008 2:29:25 PM

Of course, the problem is that marriage is a fundamental right -- whether same sex or opposite sex. A county can't decide arbitrarily to interfere with the exercise of a fundamental right. It looks like this situation presents a clear case for asking a court to issue a preliminary injunction to enjoin the cessation and to order the county clerks to issue licenses, if requested.

Posted by: Jonathan | Jun 5, 2008 2:57:23 PM

First the fundies complain we are too slutty, then when we try to commit And form relationships they feel threatened.
They will never be happy because they are stuck in sexless, loveless relationships and have no soul.

Posted by: Ty | Jun 5, 2008 5:13:40 PM

Screw Kern County, move to Santa Cruz!

Posted by: Brrrice | Jun 5, 2008 5:17:39 PM

I use to live in Lancaster, California in Kern county and I will tell you now it most certainly IS a move to circumvent the recent Supreme Court decision. This "claim" they don't have the personnel to solemnize any marriage is designed to inflame public opinion against same-sex marriage and get citizens that resent having their marriage inconvenienced to go to the polls in November and vote to amend the state's constitution banning marriage for gays.

Posted by: JerzeeMike | Jun 5, 2008 6:17:22 PM

I was just talking to my friend yesterday, and she told me that there was a truck with a sign protesting Gay Marriage right here in Delano. So im not surprised this is happening here.

Posted by: | Jun 5, 2008 6:41:18 PM

I grew up in Bako. Kern Co has always been a very conservative, traditional area.

There was a really good gay bar (902) but it shut down. Now Casa is the only gay-tolerable place that I know of over there.

I moved to Fresno to live with my fiance. Everyone here (work, apartments, friends, restaurants) have been very supportive and friendly to us.

Posted by: d0minick | Jun 5, 2008 8:54:31 PM

http://www.bakersfield.com/hourly_news/story/464269.html

Here is a relevant story based on your post, explains why the clerk went out of her way so she would not do same sex weddings.

Posted by: Matt from California | Jun 6, 2008 4:03:01 AM

JerzeeMike: Lancaster's actually well within Los Angeles County... but culturally and politically it's probably closer to Kern County than to most of L.A. County.

Kern County is one of the few places that makes my home Fresno County look good in this regard and in others.

Posted by: Trevor | Jun 6, 2008 5:29:36 AM

The county had better watch out. I am sure they noticed the clerk in Saskatchewan Canada that refused to marry same sex couples and was ordered to by the courts and fined a hefty fee for not doing so. Besides when did a county have power over a supreme court for the state's ruling?

Posted by: QZafrona | Jun 6, 2008 8:02:26 AM

QZafronda: That's why they're not marrying ANYONE, homo or hetero.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jun 6, 2008 8:20:23 AM


Very beautifull

Posted by: orewornhoarma | Feb 6, 2009 6:06:07 PM

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