ADF Offers Free Legal Representation to Those Who Refuse to Recognize Iowa’s Gay Marriages

The Alliance Defense Fund has long been one of the leading right-wing forces behind the so-called “right of conscience” designed to protect medical professionals for having to engage in practices that they feel would violate their “deeply-held religious beliefs.”

It has usually taken the form of ADF defending pharmacists who refuse to sell birth control on the grounds that it is a type of abortion, but it now seems to be expanding its definition to include county employees in Iowa who might refuse to abide by the recent state Supreme Court ruling mandating marriage equality by announcing that it will offer free legal defense to any county recorder who refuses to grant marriage licenses to same sex-couples in order to protect the “right of conscience … against heavy-handed coercion by the state [and serve] as the first line of defense against the cancer of tyranny”:

A letter issued by the Alliance Defense Fund and the Iowa Family Policy Center Wednesday offers free legal defense by ADF attorneys to county recorder offices that adopt a policy protecting employee rights of conscience.  The policy would protect objecting employees from being forced to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if doing so would violate the employee’s conscience.

“Government employees who believe in marriage as the union of one man and one woman should not be penalized for abiding by their beliefs,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Doug Napier.  “This policy allows an employee who does not wish to violate his or her own conscience by issuing a marriage license to a same-sex couple to abstain and allow the transaction to be performed by someone who is willing to do it.  Forcing them to participate in offensive acts contrary to their deeply held beliefs in order to remain employed is unconstitutional.”