NEBRASKA: Renegade Clerk Backs Down
Sioux County Clerk Michelle Zimmerman was on vacation and unavailable for comment, but Deputy Clerk JoElla Norman said Friday that somebody in the office will issue a same-sex license if requested. Zimmerman was the only one out of 93 county clerks in Nebraska who said she would not issue a license in light of a ruling last month from the U.S. Supreme Court that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Her stance prompted a threat of legal action from the ACLU of Nebraska. It also prompted State Sen. Ernie Chambers to send a letter Friday to Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, urging the governor to "instruct" all the state's county clerks to abide by the high court's ruling.Also in Nebraska:
An opinion released by a state judicial ethics committee says Nebraska judges and court officials cannot refuse to perform same-sex marriages unless they refuse to perform all marriages. The opinion released last week by the Nebraska Judicial Ethics Committee answers the question of whether a judge or clerk magistrate can refuse to perform marriages for same-sex couples based on the official's religious belief is that marriage is between a man and a woman. The committee also was asked if officials can refuse if they refer the same-sex couple to another judge willing to perform the ceremony. The committee determined that the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling last month legalizing same-sex marriage does not allow Nebraska judges to refuse to perform gay marriage ceremonies if they also perform opposite-sex marriages.