The Scotland County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina has a brand new policy for all employees moving forward: If you decide to move in with your boyfriend or girlfriend before getting married, you could be fired since you’re making God sad.
Seriously. That’s their policy. The Freedom From Religion Foundation has the receipts:
FFRF was made aware that the sheriff’s office has impermissibly endorsed religion through threats to the employment of those who do not comply with a new policy:
The policy has been changed in reference to Cohabitation. The policy change will be distributed on Monday. It will be prohibited for you to live with another while employed at the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office unless you are officially married according to the law and word of God, sisters, brothers, or family by blood. This shall not apply to those whom are currently cohabitating. However, if your current relationship with the other party should cease, you will comply with the new policy change.
There’s nothing legal about that. A government entity doesn’t get to create rules based on conservative Christian beliefs.
“By instating a policy that limits employees’ behavior outside of work to that which you deem to be ‘according to the law and word of God,’ your office unconstitutionally promoted religion and threatens to punish those who believe differently,” FFRF Legal Fellow Brendan Johnson writes to Sheriff Ralph Kersey.
“This policy rests on archaic notions of biblical morality that have no place dictating modern workplace guidelines,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor comments. “It is a staggering violation of the rights of conscience of every Scotland County Sheriff’s Office employee.”
There’s much more where those came from.
FFRF also notes that North Carolina’s cohabitation bans were declared unconstitutional in 2006: “This seriously undermines any argument that the Sheriff’s Department cohabitation policy has anything to do with compliance with North Carolina law.”
When the people tasked with enforcing the law don’t even understand how the law works, the whole community is screwed. This would be a bad rule if a priest instituted it. It’s even worse — and potentially criminal — when a law enforcement agency is pushing for it.
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