Local Arkansas news channels are reporting that a clerk in Cleburne County, Dana Guffey, is quitting her clerk job tomorrow (June 30) because she has moral conflict with issuing same sex marriage licenses. Guffey’s resigning after 24 years speaks to the bigger issue of change sweeping the nation, and the inevitable change in hiring that should accompany the political changes the nation has faced in two short weeks.
The gay community fought over 35 years for same sex marriage rights and it’s clear they are not leaving their respective spaces. But people like Dana Guffey who are opposed to civil rights prove they’ll leave rather than accommodate religious preference or practice tolerance. For students in secondary and higher education, the exodus of employees opposed to same sex relationships is wonderfully welcome.
Nothing is more damaging to a citizen’s education than instruction from a person whose religious intolerance shames, isolates, or ostracizes. Several people around the nation are refusing to acknowledge the same-sex ruling, and each one makes it clear the government must rid its bureaucracy of employees whose religious intolerance makes the workplace susceptible to incredibly avoidable civil rights violations lawsuits.
(see Paula Deen, Donald Sterling, Donald Trump).
Schools, courts, universities, and law enforcement agencies must screen potential employees for inherent biases that will prevent them from practicing equality, liberty, and justice for all.
But who quits their job over a Supreme Court ruling unless he or she wants to make national headlines?
Dana Guffey is an older woman, early to mid 50s. Guffey reportedly said her decision isn’t about hate, but religious beliefs. She graduated an Arkansas high school in 1981, somewhere in the Greers Ferry area, according to a Facebook page. I checked her Facebook page because it seemed to me that only someone with a high school diploma would quit over a same sex marriage decision and risk national and international exposure.
A college grad would suck up religious conflict in the work place and move on to a newer position. However, high school grads are typically recruited into rigid workspaces because their minds can be shaped easily to match the will and culture of a company.
A college graduate is highly unlikely to stay in a clerk job 24 years. These are jobs that ambitious college grads take on in summer and temp jobs, but not lifetime posts.
Although Guffey’s an older woman, her Facebook page notes that she recently married in 2011. An interesting twist because more often than not, divorcing couples in Arkansas—a state with the nation’s highest divorce rates—are high school grads or less. The lesser one’s education, the more likely one is to encounter long term financial difficulty which stresses a marriage.
Guffey’s Facebook page indicates her formal education was in the Heber Springs area, a resort area of sorts, home to the Greers Ferry Lake and Dam. Her husband’s page indicates the same as well, he is also a high school grad.
Many people would say there is no better Arkansas job than a position in city, state or federal government. Many government employees become entirely dependent on their government salaries to maintain lifestyles so many Guffey supporters applaud her decision.
People like Dana Guffey are found in our school systems. They spread their values and their version of religious intolerance, justify it with scripture and then shame intuitive, perceptive, and sensitive young student citizens. It is not possible for people or students who are shamed by authority figures to succeed or or proceed to navigate their environments with a feeling of safety or the assurance of liberty and justice for all.
It’s really good that Dana Guffey is leaving her job. And if there are more civil servants who feel like Guffey, particularly in education and higher education, then they should go too. Once our education system is void of educators who openly practice religious intolerance, many marginalized students will choose to become stakeholders in American education and graduation rates will soar as will college attendance, retention and graduation percentages.