Kentucky Judge Refuses to Marry Atheists

In July 2016, Kentucky judge Hollis Alexander refused to wed atheists Mandy Heath and her fiancé Jon because they requested any mention of God be excluded from the ceremony.

“I will be unable to perform your wedding ceremony,” Alexander told them. “I include God in my ceremonies and I won’t do one without him.”

Alexander, being the only judge in Trigg County able to perform a wedding ceremony, advised Heath to seek out a judge in another county. The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a leader in suits against violations of constitutional church-state separation, sent the judge a letter outlining the laws he chose to break, adding:

There is no requirement that such ceremonies be religious (any such requirement would be unconstitutional). Ms. Heath sought you out as the only secular alternative available to her under Kentucky law.

As a government employee, you have a constitutional obligation to remain neutral on religious matters while acting in your official capacity. You have no right to impose your personal religious beliefs on people seeking to be married. Governments in this nation, including the Commonwealth of Kentucky, are secular. They do not have the power to impose religion on citizens. The bottom line is that by law, there must be a secular option for people seeking to get married. In Trigg County, you are that secular option.

There is no word yet if a lawsuit will follow.

Kentucky is the state where Kim Davis worked as a county clerk; she refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, citing her Christian faith. Alexander also refuses to conduct weddings for LGBT Americans.

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