Same sex marriage.
Those three words have permeated the news for nearly the past two weeks Р no matter what news platform you’re talking about.
Even here at the Davis Clipper, one of our front page stories in last week’s paper addressed the issue. After all, it was news.
Davis County was the second county out of the state’s 29 to start performing marriages of same sex couples.
I applaud County Attorney Troy Rawlings for doing his due diligence, in reviewing the federal court ruling on Dec. 20, and then giving the go-ahead for marriages to be performed.
The same praise goes to County Clerk Steve Rawlings, who told the Clipper that it’s the law and he is sworn, by the oath he took when taking office, to uphold the law in performing his duties.
I’m praising these two public officials for doing their due diligence; then, for allowing the law, as defined by the ruling, to be followed.
I don’t know what their personal beliefs are on the issue of same sex marriage. That’s not the point of my column.
They reacted quickly to the ruling, which came out that Friday. Within hours, the county attorney had scrutinized the 53-page document outlining the ruling. The county clerk made it clear marriages would be performed, if requested, for same sex couples on Monday.
The only reason they didn’t happen Friday is that the go-ahead came just before 5 p.m., when the office closes.
Come opening time at 8 a.m. Monday, a big group of people were waiting for their chance to be married, or to witness a marriage of their friends and/or loved ones.
Eight members of the clerk’s staff had arrived at 7 a.m. to begin preparations for the anticipated flurry of activity.
The first marriages were performed within about 15 minutes of the office opening. They were performed in a dignified setting, in the “wedding room” at the historic Memorial Courthouse, by Carl Allen. He has performed hundreds of weddings over the past 25 years.
Again, no matter what his personal feelings may be on the matter of same sex marriages, he preformed those weddings with as much dignity and feeling as he has with any. He made it possible for these couples to experience a joyous, private time for their nuptials.
One of the first couples married came back to the clerk’s office with a flower and note, thanking the staff for how special they made the day.
“How gracious you all were. You weren’t rude. It was wonderful. How thankful we are for your kindness. Please give your people only the best” as a part of our thanks, the couple wrote in part.
An employee of the clerk’s office told me that there was a little tension prior to that 8 a.m. opening, mostly due to concerns protesters might appear.
That didn’t happen.
Instead, that tension was gone within five minutes of starting the application process for the first couples.
“They were some very good people. It was amazing. Really neat,” the employee said.
“Some of it brought you to tears. There were two guys together for 28 years,” who finally could get officially married.
“I started seeing the love these people have for each other,” she added.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re “for” same sex marriage or not, the employee said. She grew to realize they are every bit as deserving as anyone else of being happy, and that such actions don’t hurt anyone else.
As of Friday, about 150 same sex marriages had been performed at the Davis County Clerk’s office.