May 29, 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) What’s worse: homophobia, religious extremism, or the police state? Well, a minister in Prattville, Alabama by the name Anne Susan DePrizio has faced all three in recent months after performing a marriage ceremony for a lesbian couple in February.
The charges were summed up by Advocate.com,
“After a federal court ruled that Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional, DiPrizio conducted a marriage for two women at a probate judge’s office in Prattville, Ala., in February. (In Alabama, probate judges are responsible for issuing marriage licenses.) A local judge ordered her to stop, but she defied him and obeyed the federal ruling, returning to the probate judge’s office after she posted bail from her disorderly conduct arrest. Her punishment for refusing to vacate the office: thirty days in jail, sixth months probation, and a $250 fine.”
Not only are people in the LGBT community (and apparently ministers that support them) being victimized by members of the homophobic public, anti-gay lawmakers and the religious extremists that back them, but now they are literally being thrown in jail for these supposed crimes. People are literally being arrested for helping two consenting adults marry each other in the USSA.
As Matt Baume at Advocate notes,
“This is an actual example of a religious official who has been sent to jail for exercising her religious beliefs.”
It seems that there is an uneven view in the eyes of the law as to which religious beliefs are sanctioned by the State, and which ones aren’t. Ironically (or not), the typical supporters of religious freedom are not coming to the aid of Anne Susan DePrizio in this case.
The fortunate news, though, is that the Alabama Senate recently advanced legislation completely removing the state government from the marriage process, preventing this sort of egregious abuse of civil rights in the future — that is if the governor signs it.
However, cases such as this one in Alabama could become commonplace if the LGBT community is continued to be treated as undeserving of equal rights by the US sociopolitical system. There is a large gray area between local, state and federal law which has complicated the simple — yet sought after — right to marriage for anyone outside of what the government considers the sexual status-quo.
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