Unitarian minister Anne DePrizio was arrested in Alabama for reportedly violating the state’s defense of traditional marriage law and performing a lesbian wedding.
The kicker — and what has many sites like the Advocate up in arms — is that a federal judge previously ruled that the law was unconstitutional, so DePrizio was essentially working within the boundaries of one law while violating another.
The site makes the point that people against same-sex marriage on grounds that it could lead to their inability to practice their faith are jailing the pastor for that very thing.
According to Advocate writer Matt Baume, “those same self-proclaimed defenders of ‘religious freedom’ have been quiet as churchmice [sic]” over Anne DePrizio and her arrest.
The state of Alabama sentenced DePrizio for 30 days as a result of her defiance of state law.
According to a separate report from the Huffington Post, the pastor’s punishment also includes six months of probation and a $250 fine.
While writers like Baume are clearly making this about the violation of a religious belief, others are quick to correct, noting that Anne DePrizio was arrested for refusing to vacate the court office rather than performing a lesbian wedding. Take this comment from Bill Thacker on HuffPo‘s coverage of the arrest.
“Uh, no. She was sent to jail for exercising her POLITICAL beliefs; specifically, her belief that the federal court ruling meant she could perform the ceremony in a government facility even though the local judge ordered her not to. It has nothing to do with her religious beliefs; had she performed the ceremony at her home or in her church, they couldn’t have arrested her.
“Of course, her political belief is CORRECT, and that’s what makes this an injustice. Alabama’s judiciary is openly defying a superior court ruling. I think a federal judge should… send in the 101st Airborne Division to liberate DePrizio and stand guard while she finishes that marriage in the probate office.”
Here’s a bit more on the case.
While for many it’s simply an issue of semantics and the bigger issue at hand is a state being in defiance of the federal government, others believe that DePrizio could have easily performed the lesbian wedding within the state of Alabama and been just fine. It was simply the way she went about it.
But what do you think, readers? Was Alabama right to punish Anne DePrizio? Is the LGBT movement spinning this story, or do they have a legitimate beef? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image via The Advocate, linked above]