Grenada County Circuit Clerk Linda Barnette announced her resignation in a letter to the board of supervisors in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling of legalization of same-sex marriages.
In the letter, Barnette wrote, “The Supreme Court’s decision violates my core values as a Christian. My final authority is the Bible. I cannot in all good conscience issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples under my name because the Bible clearly teaches that homosexuality is contrary to God’s plan and purpose for marriage and family.
“I want to thank the citizens of Grenada County for giving me the honor of serving as their circuit clerk.”
Barnette has served in the capacity of circuit clerk for 24 years.
Barnette’s husband, a pastor, worked with Billy Graham Ministries for many years, as conveyed by her acquaintances.
“I choose to obey God rather than man,” Barnette wrote, as reported by USA Today.
Barnette announced her resignation effective immediately. Michele Redditt has been voted as the acting circuit clerk, Grenada County Chancery Clerk Johnny Haward said.
While clerks in most of the 82 counties in Mississippi are issuing marriage licenses following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriages, clerks in some counties await the decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, as reported by Washington Times.
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said, “The Supreme Court’s decision is not effective immediately in Mississippi. It will become effective in Mississippi, and circuit clerks will be required to issue same-sex marriage licenses when the 5th Circuit lifts the stay of Judge Reeves’ order. This could come quickly or may take several days. The 5th Circuit might also choose not to lift the stay and instead issue and order, which could take considerably longer before it becomes effective.”
When Jim Perry and his partner went to the Simpson County Circuit Clerk’s office to get a marriage license issued, they were told that such a practice was “against [the clerk’s] religion and they’re not going to issue them out of that office,” said Perry.
However, Circuit Clerk Steve Womack later explained to the couple that the office did not have the proper paperwork to issue them a marriage license.
Grenada County voter Lue Harbin, who gave her vote to Barnette in every election, says Barnette’s reason for resignation has disappointed her.
Harbin said, “I was kind of shocked, I don’t know her personally but I never thought she was that way. She’s given marriage licenses to people who have committed adultery and stolen and lied, and when their parents haven’t approved… it’s just crazy the way she’s thinking. That’s her job and she’s not there to judge people.”
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