NEBRASKA: Renegade Clerk Backs Down

Nebraska’s lone renegade county clerk has backed down.

Sioux County Clerk Michelle Zimmerman was on vacation and unavailable for comment, but Deputy Clerk JoElla Norman said Friday that somebody in the office will issue a same-sex license if requested. Zimmerman was the only one out of 93 county clerks in Nebraska who said she would not issue a license in light of a ruling last month from the U.S. Supreme Court that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Her stance prompted a threat of legal action from the ACLU of Nebraska. It also prompted State Sen. Ernie Chambers to send a letter Friday to Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, urging the governor to “instruct” all the state’s county clerks to abide by the high court’s ruling.

Also in Nebraska:

An opinion released by a state judicial ethics committee says Nebraska judges and court officials cannot refuse to perform same-sex marriages unless they refuse to perform all marriages. The opinion released last week by the Nebraska Judicial Ethics Committee answers the question of whether a judge or clerk magistrate can refuse to perform marriages for same-sex couples based on the official’s religious belief is that marriage is between a man and a woman. The committee also was asked if officials can refuse if they refer the same-sex couple to another judge willing to perform the ceremony. The committee determined that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last month legalizing same-sex marriage does not allow Nebraska judges to refuse to perform gay marriage ceremonies if they also perform opposite-sex marriages.