Several Tulare County churches are refusing to marry gay couples
TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The clerk's office at the Tulare County courthouse is ready to issue marriage licenses as soon as the ruling comes down from the ninth circuit.
While people wait for that ruling, churches are split on whether they are willing to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.
The clerk-recorder's office in the Tulare County courthouse in Visalia is expected to be busy once the ninth circuit court of appeals in San Francisco officially dismisses a proposition 8 case in California.
The dismissal, handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court this week essentially makes same-sex marriage legal in California.
Tulare County Clerk-Recorder Julie Poochigian says their marriage license forms for same-sex marriages are already ready to go.
While the governor has mandated county clerks offices issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the decision to marry gay couples is optional for churches.
A bill passed last year in California protects churches' tax exemption if they decide not to marry same sex couples because of their personal beliefs.
While some churches in the South Valley are undecided as to where they stand, others like Living Christ Church in Tulare have said they will not marry gay couples. Some churches, like St. Mary's Catholic Church, have refused comment on the issue.
Earl Cruser the President of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Visalia says his congregation would be honored to marry same-sex couples.
same-sex marriage, gay rights, tulare county, visalia, tulare, local, jessica peres
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