Collins: Why I Will No Longer Sign Charleston County Marriage Licenses

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This originally appeared at Drew’s Views and is cross-posted here.

With the news today that Charleston County Probate Judge Irving Condon will issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, I have decided that I will no longer sign marriage licenses issued by his office. Although I actually live in Berkeley County, where the authorities are not unilaterally defying the Constitution of South Carolina , the parish that I serve is located in Charleston County.

When I read of his decision I seriously considered engaging in civil disobedience — of officiating at weddings regardless of whether or not the couple had a license or not. While some clergy will include phrases like “By the authority vested in me by the State of South Carolina…” when pronouncing a new couple man and wife, I’ve never done so in the marriages at which I have officiated in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Texas, for several reasons, among them: 1. I am a Minister of the Gospel and get my authority from the Church, not from the State; and 2. Those words are not contained in the Book of Common Prayer . A cursory check of the Book of Common Prayer and the various Constitutions and Canons to which I am accountable revealed the following:.

The Book of Common Prayer of the Reformed Episcopal Church contains the following, identical to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer:
The laws respecting Matrimony, whether by publishing the Banns in
churches, or by License, being different in the several States, every
Minister is left to the direction of those laws, in every thing that
regards the civil contract between the parties.
And when the Banns are published, it shall be in the following form:
I publish the Banns of Marriage between N. of ___, and N. of ___. If any
of you know cause, or just impediment, why these two persons should not
be joined together in holy Matrimony, ye are to declare it. This is the first
(second or third) time of asking. — Rubrics at the end of the form for the Solemnization of Holy Matrimony
Ministers of this Church shall be careful to observe the law of the State or Province governing the civil
contract of marriage in the place where the service shall be performed, and they shall conform to the laws of this
Church governing the solemnization of HolyMatrimony.– Canon 34, Section 1
The Clergy shall ascertain that the man and woman, parties to the marriage, have a valid marriage license. — Title III, Canon 7, Section 3, Article 4
I am a priest under authority and while the extent to which I care whether or not the government of Charleston County has licensed a marriage that I officiate has been dramatically diminished by this foolhardiness, I have to respect the law of the Church. It’s worth noting that even if I were inclined to conduct a same-sex union — and I’m not — I am forbidden to do so by the Canons of both the Reformed Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in North America and, in fact, my Diocese unanimous passed a resolution clarifying that just last month.

I won’t sign licenses issued by Charleston County because of what happens when a clergyman does so — something of which few people are aware. When I officiate a wedding I do so as an officer of the Church, but when the service is over and I gather with the newly married couple and witnesses and sign the license I have actually taken off my clerical hat (my Canterbury cap?) and donned that of an ex officio marriage registrar, performing duties authorized as a courtesy by the State. My fear — and I don’t think it unreasonable in light of some court decisions in recent litigation — is that I could potentially be opening myself up to action if I refused to perform that duty for same-sex couples. Because of that, I’ll require couples in Charleston County and any other jurisdictions that have granted same-sex marriage licences to provide me a copy of a license signed by a judge, notary public, or some other civil official before I’ll officiate at the religious service.

Alan Wilson, the Attorney General of South Carolina has announced his intentions to seek a stay from the South Carolina Supreme Court  to prevent Judge Condon from issuing these licences; I hope that he is successful — the coming days will certainly be interesting to watch as this plays out.

Report: Video shows beheading of British hostage Alan Henning

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Associated Press/WPIX:

An Internet video purports to show an Islamic State group fighter beheading British hostage Alan Henning.

The video was released Friday night. It mirrored other beheading videos shot by the Islamic State group, which now holds territory along the border of Syria and Iraq.

The video ended with an Islamic State fighter threatening a man they identified as an American.

The Associated Press could not immediately verify the video’s authenticity, though it was released in the same manner as other Islamic State group videos.

The barbarism continues from the “Religion of Peace.”

Tonight’s Musical Interlude: Forgot About Dre

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Tonight’s Musical Interlude is Forgot about Dre by Dr. Dre featuring Eminem. Consider yourself warned for strong language if you choose to play it.

Top Stories from The Quinton Report in September 2014

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Here are the top 10 stories for September based on readership:

  1. Trade in your Ray Rice jersey for a free pizza
  2. Parody video targets Ray Rice in “Video Killed the Ravens Big Star”
  3. Video shows apparent beheading of journalist Steven Sotloff
  4. Natty Boh, PBR now owned by Russian company
  5. Top golf courses rejected Obama over Labor Day Weekend
  6. Did a MD GOP candidate lie about having a college degree?
  7. Bedbugs give some MD state employees the day off
  8. Police: Former WWE Wrestler Sean O’Haire committed suicide
  9. Canonization process for Archbishop Fulton Sheen halted
  10. Did FSU’s Jameis Winston punch an opponent?

Did a MD GOP candidate lie about having a college degree? #integritymatters

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On his editorial board questionnaire for The Baltimore Sun (screenshot at the bottom of this post), Maryland State Senate candidate Don Quinn indicated he has a B.S. from Washington State University. His Linkedin profile (screenshot also below) indicates he has a B.A. in Political Science and Government from Washington State University and was there from 2008-2012. Other candidate profiles online, including this one, indicate that he graduated in 2014.

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Here’s what an official in the Office of the Registrar had to say when asked:

Donald Quinn has not received any degrees from Washington State University.

There is also no listing for Quinn in the online commencement guides at WSU. I’ve laid out the facts and I’ll let my readers decide whether Quinn lied. (The screenshots below are in case any changes get made now that I’ve written this.)

Quinn was also recently in the news when he was blasted on Red Maryland Radio last week for a palm card his campaign was distributing that seemed to attack his opponent, Senator John Astle, over his large gun collection.

Here’s the portion of the card with that claim:

astle-guns

Quinn, who won the GOP primary by a narrow margin over Eric Knowles in June (despite being endorsed by both Bob Ehrlich and Michael Steele), encountered controversy during his primary campaign as well.

Among the things that I reported on Quinn before the primary:

  • Quinn’s residency was called into question and he was driving around a vehicle to events with Washington state plates.
  • He also only registered to vote on January 8, 2014 – the same day he filed to run for State Senate in District 30. He was still apparently registered in WA until then.
  • Quinn registered the domain name for the website FindLocalPot.com and before I pointed that fact out the website also had a copyright notice for his business on the site itself (that disappeared after my report.) Quinn claimed he just did the site for a client he didn’t name despite all the evidence to the contrary. Of course, after Quinn responded in the comments on that story, several comments were left using different names but the same IP address blasting me. These comments stopped when I pointed out the IP address being identical for all of them.
  • The Capital Gazette published a Fact Checker piece that largely agreed with what I wrote about the pot website.  In that piece Quinn claimed he had taken a leave of absence from his business in January, which doesn’t match his spin in the comments on my original piece. Of course, the business was registered in Wyoming and that state dissolved the whole company in January for non-payment of taxes.

As a result of all of this Quinn, a candidate for Senate, took to his campaign website and published a screed attacking a lowly, obscure blogger (me.) It’s a pretty amusing rant to read despite all the falsehoods in it (and yes I saved a copy of it in case it disappears too.) I’m sure the Knowles campaign would’ve been surprised to know about me supporting Knowles after all the abuse they heaped on me when I questioned the timing of when Knowles endorsed Steve Schuh for County Executive.

I stated clearly more than once before the primary that I gave Knowles and Quinn both no chance to take down Astle in November. Knowles’ defense of Michael Peroutka since and Quinn’s attack on Astle for gun ownership show they both would have run into problems in the general election campaign.

This is an issue that should matter to voters, activists, and officials in both party, since it’s an issue of integrity. This is the reason vetting of candidates is a crucial issue for the Republican Party in Maryland.  Otherwise you end up with candidates like Janice Fountaine or you have a state party that attempts to get Michael Peroutka to run for Attorney General.

With all this being said, I would hope generally the Republicans running for the Maryland General Assembly make gains this year. I just don’t expect it to happen in District 30 (I didn’t expect it to there no matter who won the primary.) I’ll be focusing primarily on Democrats and the O’Malley-Brown machine’s attempt to get a third term as governor for the rest of the campaign season this year.

The promised screenshots are below the fold.

Read More…

Elijah Cummings leaves Secret Service hearings to go on MSNBC

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Here’s how Betsy Rothstein of the Daily Caller described what happened:

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, left an important hearing Tuesday afternoon concerning the White House Secret Service for a media hit on MNSBC.

“If you want to make improvement in any relationship, there must be trust,” Cummings told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on her show at noon. “I am very concerned with Julia Pierson.”

Julia Pierson is the director of the Secret Service. Cummings continued, “I’m trying to listen very carefully, but I must tell you, my trust is eroding.”

Listening? How about heading back to the hearing to actually listen to what they’re saying?

It’s really no surprise Cummings would pull a stunt like this.

DC makes list of Top 10 Happiest Big Cities

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MindBodyGreen has this list: “Top 10 happiest metropolitan areas with a population greater than 1 million (as of 2010)”

  1. Richmond-Petersburg, VA
  2. Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News, VA
  3. Washington, DC
  4. Raleigh-Durham, NC
  5. Atlanta, GA
  6. Houston, TX
  7. Jacksonville, FL
  8. Nashville, TN
  9. West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, FL
  10. Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon, NJ

Big News from The Quinton Report

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Here’s the news I promised Monday night.

After a self-imposed respite of the past few months following burnout from a high volume of blogging about Maryland electoral politics, I will be blogging again about the campaign season as we enter the final weeks leading up to the November election. As usual, I won’t pull any punches and some toes will be stepped on. I’ve been hearing from some readers clamoring for me to get back to blogging on Maryland politics and I’m sure some people will be upset about it.

Stay tuned later Tuesday for the first piece of campaign coverage.

Stay tuned for big news from The Quinton Report

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I’ll just leave this here for now:

“Middle Eastern” man sought in bias incident against Jews in Baltimore County

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WJZ:

Police say three men walking in the 6800 block of Old Pimlico Road were first approached by a vehicle.

The driver yelled “Jews, Jews, Jews” at the victims. Investigators say the suspect then fired some type of BB or air gun in their direction and fled the area.

The victims were not struck and did not suffer any apparent injuries.

The suspect is described as a white male with brown hair and a dark complexion–possibly of Middle Eastern descent.

The report indicates the suspect was driving a black and white Toyota with tinted windows.

While WJZ reports on the suspect possibly being “Middle Eastern”, WBAL.com provides no information on the identity of the suspect or the vehicle. The Baltimore Sun also neglected to report any information on the identity of the suspect.

The Baltimore County Police Department news release included the physical description of the man.

UPDATE: The 11 p.m. news on WBAL TV didn’t mention the description of the suspect and his car.