Same-sex couple files lawsuit in Gilmer County over marriage license dispute

MGN Online

GILMER COUNTY, W.Va. (WDTV) -- A county clerk in Gilmer County is being sued for allegedly harassing and denigrating a same-sex couple that sought a marriage license.

According to a press release, high-school sweethearts Amanda Abramovich and Samantha Brookover visited the Gilmer County Clerk’s Office on Feb. 3, 2016, to obtain a marriage license. Abramovich and Brookover were accompanied by family members to celebrate the happy occasion.

Deputy Clerk Debbie Allen reportedly insulted and ranted at the couple, calling the women an “abomination” to God, slamming down paperwork and indicating God would “deal” with them. Allen cited her Christian beliefs when she told the women their intent to marry was wrong and shouldn’t be legal. Allen received support from another clerk.

Allen and the other clerk insisted that Allen had a “religious right” to harass same-sex couples. Allen also told the couple that Gilmer County officials had stopped performing all marriages when same-sex couples gained marriage equality and that no one in the county would marry them.

When Brookover’s mother later called County Clerk Jean Butcher to complain about the harassment, Butcher said she was aware of the incident, that her staff had done nothing wrong and that Abramovich and Brookover deserved the treatment they had received. Butcher also indicated other same-sex couples could expect the same treatment from the Gilmer County Clerk’s Office.

In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for Northern West Virginia, Americans United and its allies argue that Allen and Butcher violated the Constitution by treating same-sex couples differently than others in the name of religion.

The full press release is available under the Related Links section of this story.