Dana Guffey is a principled public servant.
Do I agree with a particular principle that caused her to quit her job as a county clerk in Arkansas? No — but that’s not the point of this post.
My point is that Guffey quit her public service job because she opposes the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalizes gay marriage across the land.
She should be applauded for her principled decision, which has far more integrity than the idea promoted by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who said it is just fine with him if county clerks declined to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Paxton’s view has been endorsed by Texas Republican officeholders.
These county clerks can stay on the job. They just don’t have to fulfill their oath.
To their credit, Potter and Randall counties’ clerks — Republicans Julie Smith and Renee Calhoun, respectively — have said they will issue licenses to same-sex couples when the opportunities present themselves. They’ve chosen to fulfill their oath, which means they vow to uphold national and state laws.
Meanwhile, Cleburne County, Ark., Clerk Dana Guffey has chosen to quit rather than do something with which she disagrees.
The Roosevelt County, N.M., clerk quit her job as well when New Mexico legalized gay marriage in 2013. I had no problem with her resignation, either. It, too, became a matter of principle.
No one says a public official must continue to hold a job if they disagree with fulfilling any of its required duties. The highest court in America has determined that since gay marriage is now legal, that it is constitutional — as opposed to state laws prohibiting it. Thus, issuing marriage licenses to gay couples becomes part of the job description.
If you cannot do the job, you quit.
That is what Dana Guffey did.