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Salutes And Slogans: The Reckless Folly Of Mandatory Patriotism

Every few years, it seems, the issue of forced patriotism rears its ugly head in United States. Most recently, the issue surfaced again after a number of professional football players decided to “take a knee” rather than stand during the national anthem.

The players wanted to make a statement about racial injustice in America. They weren’t protesting the anthem for religious reasons, but an incident from 1940 during which a mandatory patriotic exercise was opposed on the grounds of religion is instructive.

West Virginia Win!

When high-school sweet­­hearts Amanda Abramo­vich and Saman­tha Brook­over applied for a marriage license on Feb. 3, 2016, in Glenville, W.Va., they expected it to be one of the happiest days of their lives. Instead, they were on the receiving end of verbal abuse from a Gilmer County clerk who told the couple that God would “deal” with them and that they were an “abomination.”

W.Va. County Apologizes For Discriminating Against Same-Sex Couple Who Applied For A Marriage License

Last year, Amanda Abramovich and Samantha Brookover were harassed by a West Virginia county clerk who ranted at them as they applied for a wedding license. The clerk called them an “abomination” and declared her belief that the same-sex couple shouldn’t be allowed to marry.

Americans United And Fairness West Virginia Announce Settlement For W. Va. Same-Sex Couple Harassed By Gilmer County Clerk

Church-State Watchdog And Statewide LGBTQ Advocacy Group Welcome Gilmer County Officials’ Promise To Prevent Future Discrimination

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Fairness West Virginia and the law firm Mayer Brown LLP today announced the settlement of a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of a West Virginia same-sex couple who was harassed by a Gilmer County clerk who cited religious objections to marriage equality.

When high-school sweethearts Amanda Abramovich and Samantha Brookover asked for a marriage license on Feb. 3, 2016, they were subjected to a rant by Gilmer County Deputy Clerk Debbie Allen, who called the women an “abomination” to God and said their marriage shouldn’t be legal.

Who’s The ‘Abomination’? AU Files Suit on Behalf of W. Va. Same-Sex Couple

Amanda Abramovich and Sam­antha Brookover should have only happy memories of Feb. 3, 2016. After all, it is the day the high-school sweethearts applied for their marriage license.

But due to the abusive actions of a few county clerks, it is a day that Abramovich and Brookover remember with dread.

“This year when we realized our anniversary was approaching, we got knots in our stomachs,” the couple said in a statement released by Americans United. “This is the feeling we will have every year rather than the happiness of finally being legally married.”

Breaking News: AU Files Suit On Behalf Of W. Va. Couple

As this issue of Church & State was going to press, Americans United filed a lawsuit on behalf of a West Virginia same-sex couple who were harassed and disparaged by a county clerk. The two women, Amanda Abramovich and Samantha Brookover, visited the Gilmer County Clerk’s Office on Feb. 3, 2016, to obtain a marriage license. They were insulted by Deputy Clerk Debbie Allen, who called them an “abomination” to God and said God would “deal” with them.

Why We’re Fighting Religion-Based Discrimination in West Virginia

Editor’s note: This post was written by Samantha Brookover and Amanda Abramovich of West Virginia, the two plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit Americans United and our allies filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. On their wedding day in February 2016, the high-school sweethearts were harassed and disparaged by a Gilmer County clerk who cited her religion-based opposition to marriage for same-sex couples.

Americans United & Fairness West Virginia File Lawsuit On Behalf Of W. Va. Same-Sex Couple Harassed By Gilmer County Clerk

Church-State Watchdog, Statewide LGBT Advocacy Group Say Gilmer County Officials Violated The Constitution By Subjecting Couple To Ill Treatment

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Fairness West Virginia and the law firm of Mayer Brown today filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a West Virginia same-sex couple that was harassed and disparaged by a county clerk who cited religious objections to issuing the women a marriage license.

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.

Awesome Awardee: W. Va. Student Who Stood Up For Separation Wins Prestigious Scholarship

This blog is often the bearer of bad news – we may report about a public school district trying to teach creationism, an attack on LGBT rights by a Religious Right group, an effort by a large and powerful church to secure tax funding for its private school system, etc.

But today’s story is good news. It may, in fact, even warm your heart a little.

Let’s set the stage a bit: In April of 2013, a senior at George Washington High School in Charleston, W.Va., was dismayed after school officials invited a speaker to come in and talk about “God’s plan for sexual purity.”

Federal Court Tosses W. Va. Anti-Evolution Lawsuit

A federal court has dismissed a lawsuit by a parent who claimed the teaching of evolution in public schools violated his rights.

Kenneth Smith of Harpers Ferry, W. Va., filed suit against the Jefferson County Board of Education, the State Superintendent, the National Institutes of Health (and its director, Francis Collins) and the U.S. Department of Education. He represented himself.

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