A West Virginia county clerk's office
has agreed to pay $10,000 in damages to a lesbian couple who faced
disparaging remarks while applying for a marriage license last year.
The incident prompted Amanda Abramovich
and Samantha Brookover to sue Gilmer County Deputy Clerk Debbie Allen
and Clerk Jean Butcher. According to the complaint, Allen called the
couple an “abomination” and told them that God would “deal”
with them while processing their application.
According to The
Washington Post, Allen's rant against the women lasted
several minutes and another clerk shouted that it was Allen's
“religious right” to harass the couple.
When Brookover's mother, who witnessed
the abuse, called the county clerk's office to complain, she said
that Butcher stood by her deputy and allegedly said that the next
same-sex couple that sought a marriage license “would get the same
or worse” treatment.
Allen has denied she called the couple
an “abomination.” “I felt I talked nicely to them,” she told
Gazette-Mail at time.
In a statement released Tuesday, Gilmer
County acknowledged that the couple “were disrespected and
disparaged by staff” because of their sexuality.
“That was wrong,” the county said.
The lawsuit was filed by Americans
United for Separation of Church and State, Fairness West Virginia and
the law firm Mayer Brown.