Workers reassigned over religious views

Times Staff Writer

Several employees of the county clerk’s office have been reassigned to other duties because they expressed “sincerely held religious objections” to gay marriage, County Clerk Gregory Smith said Friday.

No employee is being allowed to perform marriage duties involving only heterosexual couples, Smith said.

Instead, employees are being transferred to other duties that do not include issuing marriage licenses, officiating at civil weddings or acting as witnesses.


Smith cited Government Code Section 12940, which requires an employer to explore “any available reasonable alternative means of accommodating the religious belief or observance [of an employee], including the possibilities of excusing the person from those duties that conflict with his or her religious belief.”

In the three days since the state began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Smith’s office has issued 549 licenses and conducted 287 ceremonies, roughly double the daily rate before the new policy took effect.

Initially, 14 of his employees expressed religious concerns about same-sex marriages. Several later changed their minds, Smith said.