A lesbian couple are set to receive $10,000 after a visit to the West Virginia county clerk’s office for a marriage licence turned what should have been one of the happiest days of their lives into a bitter memory.
Amanda Abramovich and Samantha Brookover applied for the licence last year but were abused by a deputy clerk in the office who called them an “abomination”, adding that God would “deal” with them, according to a complaint filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.
Well God dealt them $10,000, yay for God!
But now the Gilmer County clerk’s office has agreed on damages payment and issued an apology to the couple, the Associated Press reported, citing lawyers acting for the women.
According to The Independent when the couple requested a marriage license they expected an eye roll or another small sign of disapproval from the clerk’s office in the largely conservative county – 75 percent of the residents voted for President Donald Trump – but they didn’t expect the “tirade of harassment and disparagement” they received, according to the complaint.
Allen ranted for several minutes, according to court documents. Another clerk joined in, shouting that it was Allen’s “religious right” to harass the couple, the complaint said.
During this abuse, Abramovich remained silent, while Brookover cried, according to court papers. The couple has been together for seven years.
They received their marriage license, but it was not the joyous day the women or their families had hoped for.
A week after the encounter, Allen told the Charleston Gazette-Mail: “I just told them my opinion. I just felt led to do that. I believe God was standing with me and that’s just my religious belief.”
But in a statement this week Gilmer County apologized and said the couple was wrongly “disrespected and disparaged”.
It added: “That was wrong. It is the policy of Gilmer County and the Gilmer County Clerk’s Office that all people seeking services and doing business with the County will be treated courteously and with respect regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The county also said that all officials and employees of the county commission and county clerk’s office take part in a training program provided by Fairness West Virginia, a lobby group for the fair and equal treatment of LGBT West Virginians