Prop 8: WaPo profiles Imperial County clerk Chuck Storey

March 21, 2011 at 9:15 am 64 comments

By Adam Bink

As many of you know, Advocates for Faith & Freedom filed a petition to get back into the courtroom after the 9th Circuit ruled the deputy county clerk has no standing. From the Associated Press a few weeks ago:

In its new petition, Advocates for Faith & Freedom argues that Storey, whose official legal duties include certifying marriages, will be directly impacted by the outcome of this case.

Conservative groups are hopeful Imperial County will be able to re-enter the case because of the wording of the Jan. 4 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, which denied standing to the the county’s conservative Board of Supervisors and a deputy county clerk.

In the ruling, the three-judge panel disqualified the deputy clerk on the grounds that she reported to the county clerk and as such had no power herself.

“Were Imperial County’s elected County Clerk the applicant for intervention, that argument might have merit. A County Clerk is not before us, however, so we need not, and do not, decide now whether a County Clerk would have been permitted to intervene under the circumstances present in this case,” the panel wrote.

Yesterday, The Washington Post profiled Chuck Storey, the newly elected county clerk who decided to step up and intervene in the case. And he’s not entirely supported:

EL CENTRO, Calif. — Chuck Storey ran for county clerk-recorder in a remote, desert corner of southeast California on a pledge to run a lean operation in churning out government documents like property deeds, birth certificates and marriage licenses.

“Imperial County needs a businessman,” he said during last year’s campaign.

Less than two months in office, the low-key real estate agent became something else: a very public face against gay marriage in California. Storey asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month to let him be the primary defendant in a lawsuit to uphold Proposition 8 — if a coalition of religious and conservative groups that sponsored the measure is removed.

Though Storey represents a county that voted overwhelmingly to ban gay marriage, his hometown critics say he was disingenuous when he didn’t raise his intentions earlier. Many voters thought the county’s role in the contentious issue ended Jan. 4 when the appeals court ruled its board of supervisors and deputy clerk had no legal standing to defend the ban.

Aaron Popejoy, president of the El Centro Chamber of Commerce, said the new clerk didn’t mention gay marriage, or give any hint of the legal bombshell he was about to drop, at a Rotary Club lunch Feb. 24, the day before he stepped into the lawsuit.

“I’m a little disappointed that he would open up this can of worms for us,” said Popejoy. “It’s one of those huge red flags that draw the wrong kind of attention to our community. We need to be a little more warm and welcoming.”

The Imperial Valley Press editorialized that Storey was inviting misguided stereotypes that the region is “bad or backward” — the kind of attention it got after becoming the only California county that tried to defend the marriage ban in 2009.

“We can’t think of one bit of good to come out of this effort in retrospect. It was a waste of time, energy and was damaging to the county’s reputation. And it’s happening again thanks to one self-aggrandizing man in Storey,” the newspaper wrote.


Gail Pellerin, president of the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials, knows of no other county clerks who have expressed interest in defending Proposition 8.

Imperial County supervisors say Storey is on his own. He is being represented by Advocates for Faith & Freedom at no charge.

“We were not involved in any way, shape or form,” said Supervisor Gary Wyatt, who has opposed the county’s involvement. “It’s a case of an individual who happens to be the clerk-recorder.”

The rest of the article is also worth a read. Storey has lost and is losing support, at the expense of the people he represents.

Entry filed under: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Prop 8 trial.

Anti-Gays Using Race as a Wedge: This Week in Prop 8 for March 21 NOM’s new DOMA toy

64 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kathleen  |  March 21, 2011 at 9:25 am

    And here’s the editorial from the Imperial Valley Press referenced above. It also suggests that the Board of Supervisors weren’t on board this time:,0,7722637.story

    • 2. Carpool Cookie  |  March 21, 2011 at 12:05 pm

      Interesting, and heartening, that aside from a few posters who are (understandably) confused, the rest of the 18 posts are 100% against this county clerk-recorder Chuck Storey trying to intervene.

  • 3. Ed Cortes  |  March 21, 2011 at 9:26 am

    scribin here, too!

    • 4. Dave in ME  |  March 21, 2011 at 10:52 am

      Mee too, please!

      Dave in Maine

      • 5. JonT  |  March 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm

        What the heck…

  • 6. Jeff Tabaco  |  March 21, 2011 at 9:30 am

    I found this a supremely fascinating article especially for the local insight and how any support for the intervention has basically crumbled within the county. But a point of clarification… this is an AP article that is being run in the WaPo and other outlets, not a WaPo article per se.

    By the way, the following Imperial Valley Press editorial from a few weeks back is also a good read (thanks to Kathleen for the link), basically denouncing the attempt to intervene:,0,7722637.story

    • 7. Jeff Tabaco  |  March 21, 2011 at 9:33 am

      LOL, Kathleen, jinx! ;-) You are quick.

  • 8. Mark  |  March 21, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Years ago, when Anita Bryant voiced her anti-gay remarks, the gay community launched a boycott of Florida orange juice (Anita Bryant was the spokeslady for “The Florida Sunshie Tree” – the Florida Orange Growers Association). Time to boycott produce from Imperial County. If that were to happen, voters would vote this joker out of office pronto.

    • 9. Kate  |  March 21, 2011 at 10:28 am

      Ha ha. During that time period, I made and sold t-shirts that said: “Let she who is without sin cast the first orange” and “If you can’t stand the fruit, get out of the orchard.”

      • 10. Kate  |  March 21, 2011 at 10:29 am

        Oh yeah, and “Anita Bryant sucks oranges.”

        • 11. Ed Cortes  |  March 21, 2011 at 11:00 am

          And all this time, I thought it was lemons!

      • 12. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  March 21, 2011 at 11:15 am

        Those are great!!

      • 13. Marlene  |  March 22, 2011 at 10:55 am

        I would’ve put on a tee the Levitican edicts on planting a fruit tree: Once it starts bearing fruit, you’re to let the fruit rot for five years as an offering to God.

        Nice when you’re trying to run a business, and/or planting it in order to help feed your family and neighbors…

  • 14. AnonyGrl  |  March 21, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Can the voters of Imperial County do a recall to remove Storey from office? Should we suggest that they do?

    • 15. Mark  |  March 21, 2011 at 10:09 am

      They certainly could discuss a recall. I think just the talk of a possibility may change his opinion. And if it doesn’t, it sounds like he will only be a one-year official.

    • 16. Ed Cortes  |  March 21, 2011 at 10:20 am

      If he’s using ANY job resources (time, clerical time, supplies, phone, etc.) could the board of supervisors impeach him?

    • 17. AnonyGrl  |  March 21, 2011 at 11:05 am

      And can Olsen and Boies bring in someone from the Imperial County Board to say “Nope, not representing US at this time, he is doing this as a private citizen”?

  • 18. BradK  |  March 21, 2011 at 10:02 am

    What would be really interesting to find out is how much influence this Faith and “Freedom” cartel had in this buttstain’s election.

    The bankrolling of “stealth candidates” was a big strategy of the old Christian Coalition back in the 80’s. They would work behind the scenes in small towns across America to get “their” candidates elected to local town councils, school boards, etc. Once in office they would climb down from the proverbial Trojan horse and the slaughter would begin.

    Onward Christian Soldiers.

    • 19. AnonyGrl  |  March 21, 2011 at 10:15 am

      I wondered the same thing a while back… would be very interesting to audit Storey’s campaign finances…

      • 20. Rhie  |  March 21, 2011 at 1:31 pm

        I wonder why we don’t that with every official who does something wrong. I mean, one of them at least would have had to have made personal calls on the state’s dime or used a piece of paper and a pencil provided by the state to write something against the state’s equality policy. Why don’t we dig and find those things? Why don’t we put it on every billboard and ad? Heck, in many states it’s not illegal to clandestinely record phone calls or other conversations.

        The GOP proved they aren’t above such tactics in the 90s with Clinton. They are really, really good at using the letter of the law for their own ends. Why aren’t we “rules lawyers” too?

  • 21. Shelly & Simie  |  March 21, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Looks someone is suffering from a.h.d. ASSHOLE disorder no pill 2 fix that pain in da ass he is a hemriod 2 society!!!! maybe he can be healed with some education!!!! Wed will pray that God will have mercy on him!!!

  • 22. Sagesse  |  March 21, 2011 at 10:14 am

    From the beginning, Advocates for Faith & Freedom have been looking for a ‘front person’. They convinced the supervisors in Imperial County to go along in the first place because it would cost them nothing.

    • 23. AnonyGrl  |  March 21, 2011 at 10:16 am

      Except they are finding it DOES cost them in that it makes them look like evil idiots. That has to hurt any sort of tourism trade, or other business done in the country.

  • 24. Richard A. Jernigan  |  March 21, 2011 at 10:51 am

    So, once again we see a case of someone not telling the whole truth and by doing so he ends up with something that is coming around to bite him in the caboose! Couldn’t happen to a nicer man, and I am using the word “man” lightly. After all, if he were a real man, he would be adult enough to not get involved in this because he would realize that we are not a threat to him or to his marriage.

    • 25. Carpool Cookie  |  March 21, 2011 at 12:11 pm

      “a case of someone not telling the whole truth…”

      Did you notice in the Washington Post/AP article, the clerk/recorder’s pastor from Christ Community Church (which was known to promote Prop H8) said, “All Chuck’s trying to do is say…’This is what the people voted for, so let’s see if we can give them what they want.”

      Suuuuure….that’s ALL it is!

  • 26. Kathleen  |  March 21, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Currently happening… Hearing at CT capital on adding gender identity and and gender expression to the state’s non-discrimination law

    Here’s one twitter feed with reports. There are probably others.

    • 27. AnonyGrl  |  March 21, 2011 at 11:10 am

      Almost (but not quite) makes me want to move to Connecticut! Good for them!

    • 28. Michelle Evans  |  March 21, 2011 at 11:29 am

      Thanks for passing this along. Nice to know a state is considering adding gender identity to anti-discrimination laws. We have so few protections all across this country, so every small movement toward equality for trans people is most welcome.

    • 29. Kathleen  |  March 21, 2011 at 3:10 pm

      You can watch hearing live here:

  • 30. Ronnie  |  March 21, 2011 at 11:18 am

    His job is paid for out of the tax payers pockets. ALL of the tax payers both LGBT & Straight….if he can’t or will not do his tax payer funded job because of his religious biases, prejudices, definitions & beliefs then there are 3 options here:

    1.) Quit his bitching & do his damn job
    2.) Get a new job
    3.) Don’t tax LGBT people

    Since the government will most definitely not opt to take the latter suggestion, I recommend one of the two former options for Mr. Imperial County clerk Chuck Storey…. just saying….<3…Ronnie

  • 31. Dave in ME  |  March 21, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Off topic, but about the US Supreme Court at the 9th Circuit:,0,2971950.story

    “The decision marked the 10th time since November that the justices had reversed rulings of the 9th Circuit, and nearly all of them were unanimous.”

    Dave in Maine

  • 32. Phillip R  |  March 21, 2011 at 11:36 am

    It’s ridiculous that a private citizen who happens to be the clerk-recorder could interfere in such a large state (and national issue). I somehow don’t foresee a change in standing though.

    • 33. Steve  |  March 21, 2011 at 11:55 am

      Definitely tinpot dictator syndrome

      “Wha! I was elected! Wha wha!”

      • 34. Felyx  |  March 21, 2011 at 1:04 pm

        I personally would like to see us just stop electing people (to political office) altogether! This is the age of the internet… I feel confident that we have the ability and technology to go from a representative democracy to a near direct democracy. Why have officials vote for us when the technology exists for us to do it for ourselves.

        For that matter… I think we are sufficiently advanced enough to move beyond 50%+1 voting styles. There are other styles that are a bit more complex but, depending on the circumstances, are far more fair and just as easy to implement.

        I think the only thing holding us back at this point from achieving are far happier world is ignorance and fear! (Include with that greed and naked ambition by those who don’t mind hurting others for the sake of selfish desires… and religious belief.)

        Dreaming of a better world,

        • 35. Steve  |  March 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm

          That will only become a reality once everyone is hooked into the internet with neurological interfaces. Like the Althing in Dan Simmons’s Hyperion Cantos. An interstellar direct democracy with billions of people.

          Elections are fine. Up to a point. Why is a fucking CLERK elected? No point whatsoever in that

          • 36. Felyx  |  March 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm

            Direct computer interfaces would be way cool, no?… !!!

            Guaranteed mental telepathy!!! Sigh… maybe in my lifetime but who knows.

  • 37. JoeRH  |  March 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    When will this douche be chased out of his town? When individuals go out there to make moronic attacks like this, especially when it brings national media attention, they rarely get to live as happily as they would have had they kept their mouths shut. Like that guy on a school board who made comments of FB about gay kids killing themselves. He resigned within a few days. And other stories just like it. This man just made a HUGE group of enemies and I doubt his life will be peaceful going forward. I feel bad for his family who will also suffer from his supreme stupidity.

  • 38. DaveP  |  March 21, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Something I was wondering a while ago, when the deputy clerk was trying to defend Prop 8, and now I’m wondering about this again –

    Exactly HOW do these people think they are affected by the ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional?

    I’m not asking whether they like gay marriage. Lots of people don’t like it and that doesn’t give them standing to appeal the ruling. I’m wondering exacly how they think they are materially affected by the ruling? What exactly is their argument?

    • 39. Kathleen  |  March 21, 2011 at 12:48 pm

      Claims he’s confused. :)

      Seriously, though, best just to read the motion to intervene:

      • 40. DaveP  |  March 21, 2011 at 2:12 pm

        OK, just read it. Well, what a bunch of pooo that was. I think my favorite bit is this:
        ” As a practical matter, the outcome of this action will affect Clerk Storey’s ability to comply with Proposition 8″.

        Um, no, the otucome (repealing Prop 8) will instruct the Clerk that he must no longer attempt to comply with Prop 8. There’s a teeny little difference : /

        As far as I can tell, the bulk of the text is a lot of vague ramblings that imply that the Clerk has an interest in attempting to prevent the law or CA Constitution from being changed. This is not true. The Clerk has an interest in assuring that they can perform their duties in compliance with the law and the CA Constitution, REGARDLESS if the law or Constitution change or do not change. It’s clearly none of his damn business to try to keep Prop 8 ohn the books and any attempt to do so is dictated purely by his personal preference. Just another busy-body bigot wasting the taxpayers money.

    • 41. Ronnie  |  March 21, 2011 at 1:02 pm

      From what I read is that they personally believe that marriage is btw. a man & a woman therefore he & the deputy clerk should not have to issue a marriage license to a same-gender couple despite that being what his & her tax payer funded job requires them to do….I say they should do their job or get a new one.

      There are still people today who personally believe that white people shouldn’t be allowed to marry people outside of their race and If they were a clerk who issued marriage licenses, should they be allowed to turn an interracial couple away because of their personal biases? They answer would be a resounding NO!!!….but in this case personal biases seem to be perfectly fine, as NOM, Protect Marriage etc. loves to support & purport.

      If I were to become a clerk that issues marriage licenses & denied a couple that license because of their religious beliefs or if they didn’t support Equality, they would yell discrimination, persecution, & more….It is ok for the anti-gay people to shout that personal biases are enough to legally discriminate against someone else…but Gaia forbid we reciprocate the gesture, then we are wrong for doing so.

      The double standards, selfishness, arrogance & unwillingness to do what one was hired to do is not so much surprising as it is extremely offensive, erroneous, & so repugnant that it makes the diaper of a newborn baby smell like the perfect rose bed planted & cared for by Bree Van deKamp. Typical American arrogance perfected by those who half-heartedly & hypocritically live by their religious convictions & tenets while demanding & even forcing that everyone else do so despite the 1st Amendment being our most cherished freedoms & civil rights afforded by ALL Americans, not just those deemed suitable for them to be afforded too according to some selfish elitists who really should get their acts together & learn how to mind their own business.

      and scene…..<3…Ronnie

  • 42. Rhie  |  March 21, 2011 at 1:17 pm


  • 43. Ronnie  |  March 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    New York couple, New York Times best selling author John Kilmer-Purcell & Dr. Brent Ridge (aka. The Fabulous Beekman Boys) are New Yorkers who not only support Marriage Equality but would benefit from Marriage Equality…..<3…Ronnie:

    • 44. Ronnie  |  March 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm

      woah….apologies….Josh Kilmer-Purcell…not John…. yeah we need an edit feature….<3…Ronnie

  • 45. Kathleen  |  March 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Trans rights group to file lawsuit again the City of New York and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene challenging the city’s practice of requiring transgender people to undergo surgery before it will issue them birth certificates with corrected sex designations. Announcement at press conference tomorrow, Mar 22

  • 46. Jerry  |  March 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    OK, thank you for the heads up. I will make sure to stay away from this town and county to help support his standing on this issue. I hope the county can shed light on his right to set the law in the county or is he just as the title states a recorder for the county. Thank you and good luck

  • 47. Alan E.  |  March 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    I wonder if Imperial County would submit an amicus brief saying why he shouldn’t be allowed to join. Would save a little face for them as a county.

    • 48. Alex  |  March 21, 2011 at 7:05 pm

      Of course not! Are you kidding? lol

  • 49. Alan E.  |  March 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Check it out if you haven’t. NOM’s “Defend DOMA” site is live now.

    Here is the twitter message they want you to send out on their home page. Note the little misdirection in how they describe Obama’s actions:

    Defend Marriage & Stop President Obama’s Unconstitutional Power Grab! @NOMtweets #NO4M #TCOT

    • 50. Sarah  |  March 21, 2011 at 3:43 pm

      Is it just me, or does the voice in the video on that site seem like it was computer generated? Sort of creepy. The argument they use is a whole other can of worms, but listen to the voice and tell me if I’m just imagining it… :)

    • 51. BradK  |  March 21, 2011 at 4:51 pm

      Love the new logo.

  • 52. Patrick  |  March 21, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    In 2008, Imperial County had 20,217 people who voted Yes on Prop 8. Notice how they never say any NUMBERS of how many the County Clerk is allegedly representing in Imperial County?,0,3304898.htmlstory

    They’re happy to say that 70% (or so) voted YES on 8, but not how many that is. I look out my window in LA County, and I see more than several hundred thousand people. 20k people is barely a stadium-full. A small stadium-full.

    And that’s what this joker claims to be representing?

    • 53. Ed  |  March 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm

      Good call…percentages sound better….but, so glad u pointed this out :)

  • 54. Elizabeth Oakes  |  March 21, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    I’m a little confused on an etiquette question here: do I send Mr. Storey and his little wet-eyed attorney friend from the Agitprop Advocates for Faith and Freedom their big red clown noses now, or do I wait until after the Ninth laughs and officially kicks them back into the wings?

    • 55. Mark M (Seattle)  |  March 21, 2011 at 8:34 pm

      Send them now so they will have them to wear at the press conference :-)

  • 56. James S.  |  March 22, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    I love that officials from Imperial County don’t want to be associated with Storey’s negative press. I guess they should have considered that when their constituents voted overwhelmingly to pass Prop 8. Too late, folks.

  • 57. Shelly & Simie  |  March 22, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Tags: behalf, card petition, decision, defense of marriage act, deportation proceedings, federal immigration law, Immigration, immigration equality, law, marriage, new york woman, separation, sex, today
    A New York woman who immigrated from Argentina scored a court victory Tuesday with her wife in their efforts to halt deportation proceedings against her.

    Government lawyers have agreed not to deport Monica Alcota, a citizen of Argentina, while her wife, Cristina Ojeda, proceeds with a green card petition on her behalf.

    The two have been together since 2008, and were married in Connecticut in 2010. Ojeda filed a marriage-based alien relative petition on behalf of her wife in September 2010, according to Towel Road.

    It’s the first time a married same sex couple has successfully argued that a pending deportation should be halted based on the Obama administration’s decision to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

    Rachel Tiven, the Executive Director of Immigration Equality, said earlier this month that the DOMA decision created “a new opportunity for families facing separation or who are separated.”

    Her group represents LGBT individuals and their international partners who, because of DOMA, are not entitled to the same benefits (like a green card) under federal immigration law as straight couples.

    “Today’s decision in the Alcota case is exactly the right one,” Steve Ralls, Immigration Equality’s communications director, told Raw Story Tuesday. “It is a logical conclusion that, if DOJ believes DOMA to be unconstitutional, spousal petitions for LGBT partners should no longer be denied.”

    “Immigration Equality has called on DHS and DOJ to hold all such applications until DOMA’s constitutionality is ultimately settled by the courts,” he added. “Families should not be torn apart, and American citizens should not have to be separated from their loved ones, because of a law which the government believes cannot hold up under legal scrutiny.”

    Ralls said Immigration Equality is working with a number of other couples preparing spousal petitions and that “today’s ruling gives all of them hope that the days of forced separation are coming to an end.”

    “It definitely brings us more hope,” Ojeda told The Advocate, shortly after the hearing. “It’s the first time someone has been willing to let us pursue our case and believes that we should be treated equal.”

    Lavi Soloway, an attorney who represents Alcota and Ojeda, told Raw Story that he agreed the ruling was promising sign for other couples.

    “What it demonstrates for other couples is that the system has within it the flexibility to deal with the changing landscape of DOMA,” he said. “It does not mean that the laws have changed. It does not mean that DOMA is not in effect. It simply means that executive branch agencies have prosecutorial discretion and can take into account sympathetic humanitarian circumstances and the overarching priority of family unification in determining how to proceed with deportation cases.”

    “It’s very promising and it’s a very important achievement today,” Soloway added.

    It’s not 2 much longer friendz!!!! Hope this makes ur day!!!!

    • 58. Mark M (Seattle)  |  March 22, 2011 at 6:29 pm

      Hope it actually goes their way :-)

  • 59. Lacey  |  March 22, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    I live in the Imperial County and I am ASHAMED that Mr. Storey is even trying to get involved. We have enough problems in this county as it is. We have the highest unemployment rate in the nation and all he is concerned about it taking marriage away from myself and others that deserve it.

    • 60. Kathleen  |  March 22, 2011 at 6:37 pm

      Thanks for speaking up, Lacey. Imperial County, which has a lot of poverty and high unemployment, has far more important things to be concerned with.

      I’m curious: Do you know how to research the source of Storey’s campaign funds?

      • 61. Lacey  |  March 22, 2011 at 6:46 pm

        If you have an email address I can probably send you some information. If you give me a little bit I can see what I can come up with :)

      • 62. Kathleen  |  March 22, 2011 at 6:47 pm

        thanks! write to me at prop8tt at gmail dot com.

  • 63. Mark  |  March 23, 2011 at 9:16 am

    How can this Clerk have any standing in this matter? The clerk that was in office during Prop 8 refused to go to court on the matter and this joker was put in place afterwords. I don’t think the supreme court will allow him to represent the people when he was not their representative at the time.

    • 64. Kathleen  |  March 23, 2011 at 11:06 am

      Just to keep the facts straight, so to speak, the IC County Clerk’s motion to intervene went to the 9th Circuit, not the California Supreme Court. The CA SC is deciding a question related to standing for the official Proponents of Prop 8.


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