Public officials have no authority on marriage

The gay marriage issue has divided friends and neighbors, Christians and non-believers across the nation and around town.

Despite the differences, most of us can at least agree on this much: It’s none of government’s business.

New Mexico’s county clerks last week asked the courts to decide on whether they should issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Six counties have done so since June when the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act.

Seems to us marriage should be defined by individuals, not by government and not by majority rule.

That said, it is understandable that some county clerks aren’t sure what to do and don’t want to make political statements under this spotlight.

Unfortunately, Curry County Clerk Rose Riley has made it political, hiding behind her authority as an elected official to impose her moral values on others.

Riley told reporter Kevin Baird last week that she won’t issue licenses to same-sex couples unless the court “forces” her.

“If they can force county clerks into giving same-sex marriage licenses, what’s next,” she said. “Incestual marriage? Bestiality?”

Riley should know better. Dumbing down an intellectual discussion as she has done is meant to distract and outrage. It is not intellectually or morally honest to link consenting gay couples to sexual abuse of animals and relatives. Those acts have nothing to do with this matter.

Yes, Riley is entitled to her opinions. She is not, however, entitled to plop them down on the rest of us and deny gay couples the right to publicly declare their love for one another and have it sanctioned by the state, as New Mexico’s heterosexual couples have been allowed to do for a century.

Many who oppose same-sex unions cite Scripture, especially the Old Testament book of Leviticus, which warns: “Thou shalt not lie with a man, as with a woman; it is abomination.”

Christians who support gay unions warn against judging the actions of others. And the Bible, many believe, should not be read literally because ancient cultural understandings can separate us from the word of the Lord.

Don’t forget Old Testament Law also says beards should not be trimmed and those who curse their parents should be put to death, along with anyone who commits adultery.

Scriptural interpretation is not our area of expertise, but count us opposed to Riley’s version of logic. God gave us each the freedom to make our own decisions about what pleases him and how best to treat one another.

Government doesn’t get a vote.


Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the Clovis Media Inc. editorial board, which includes Publisher Ray Sullivan and Editor David Stevens.