In recent days I have been seeing the story of Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis popping up all over social media and news streams and the question I ask, how is she still employed as a county clerk? She is and has been willfully disregarding a federal mandate that she issue marriage licenses to hetero and homo-sexual couples for two months hiding behind court orders and religious freedom claims.
Several courts have ruled and upheld, including the supreme court, that she MUST issue marriage licenses to all couples who qualify. Ms. Davis is being sued by two same sex couples and two hetero couples for refusing to issue a marriage license to them, but remains defiant of the constitutional change.
Another Kentucky county clerk, Casey Davis from Casey county also has been in defiance of the Supreme Court’s ruling two months ago and still has his job despite being given an ultimatum by Gov. Steve Beshear “‘Issue marriage licenses or resign”, but Mr. Davis responded “I can’t quit … I have a mortgage to pay”, the solution is simple, do the job that taxpayers, including the gay taxpayer pay you to do?
Apparently, because these clerks are elected officials, they can not simply be fired, however they can be held in contempt of a court order and be jailed, in this case for upto one year. These clerks could also be impeached and forcibly removed from office. At the simplest level, if these individuals are unable to complete their civic duties for any reason including religious belief, they should be relieved of that duty.
Mr. Davis went on CNN’s New Day and said “There is a power that is above whatever man may put on paper, and that authority is of a Godly nature, and nature itself”. And when asked if he will uphold the constitution of the United States, he made reference to the Kentucky constitution, which is of course is superseded by the Federal constitutional changes as handed down by the US Supreme Court back in June, 2015. Mr. Davis cited the Kentucky constitution, section 26 claiming that “no higher power shall interfere with what’s in our state’s constitution”, dear Mr. Davis, FEDERAL LAW SUPERSEDES STATE LAW.
Mr. Davis asserts that he and Ms. Davis, no relation are not blocking same sex marriage, “the same sex couples could go to a neighboring county to obtain a marriage license”. My response is this; you ARE blocking same sex marriage, couples, same sex or otherwise should not have to go to a neighboring county to obtain something that is a right according to the constitution of the United States of America.
This sort of bullshit is the reason I have such a deep seated contempt for religion in general. I find it incredibly intolerant, even hateful of everything from race (white supremacists often use religion as a base for their hatred) to non-traditional marriage and beyond. Religion is also hypocritical, condemning same sex marriage while endorsing 2nd, 3rd or 4th marriages, when the bible also prohibits divorce. Which is ironic as according to some Internet comments, (Mrs.) Kim Davis is on her fourth husband!
Final word; if Mr. Davis and Ms. Davis can’t perform their duty due to religious beliefs, QUIT!
Update [Sep, 2 2015, 15:21]: Columnist Dan Savage labeled Davis a “hypocrite” going onto say “This is a woman that has been divorced three times and married four times. She gave birth to twins five months after divorcing her first husband, they were fathered by her third husband, but adopted by her second husband, she is now onto her fourth husband…” – Sounds like good Christian behavior, right?
Additionally, Ms. Davis has been summoned to appear before a federal judge on Thursday to explain why she is continuing to refuse to issue marriage licenses. If she sticks to using I am refusing to issue marriage licenses on “God’s Authority”, the court should find her in contempt and throw her in jail
Update [Sep, 3 2015, 13:35]: Ms. Davis has been held in contempt of court and jailed until she is willing to issue marriage licenses. Judge David L. Bunning said “The court cannot condone the willful disobedience of its lawfully issued order. If you give people the opportunity to choose which orders they follow, that’s what potentially causes problems.” And Judge Bunning is 100% correct, his hands are tied, Ms. Davis has willfully disregarded a federal court order, marriage is not a religious act, it’s a civil act.
Just to play devils advocate for a moment, the solution seems simple, make it so any qualified person in the office can sign a marriage license, then Ms. Davis or anyone else with sincerely held religious beliefs wouldn’t have to sign their name on the license. But as the law stands, Ms. Davis is 100% in the wrong, no matter how some Christians want to twist it to suit their own agendas, religion does not trump law.
Update [Sep, 8 2015, 21:53]: Judge Bunning has released Kim Davis on the proviso that she not interfere with the issuance of marriage licenses when she returns to work. Let’s say I’m skeptical about her abiding by that stipulation. Will the judge throw her back in jail if she does attempt to block the issuance of marriage licenses? Clearly Ms. Davis is unrepentant, why should we believe she will comply!
Update [Sep, 14 2015, 10:51]: Ms. Davis has returned to work, but remains defiant of Judge Bunning’s court order. Ms. Davis has removed her name and title from the marriage license, which could possibly make the license invalid, which in my view is interfering with the issuance of marriage licenses in contravention of Judge Bunning’s ruling. Ms. Davis herself made reference in a press call outside the courthouse on Monday morning that she doesn’t know if the license is valid without her name and title on it. In my view, it’s just another method to discriminate and force her religious beliefs on others.
PS: George Takei wrote an interesting article on the truth behind the 1st Amendment that religious types like to wheel out in the name of religious liberty, READ: How Kim Davis Violated the First Amendment.