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Religious Tolerance logo

The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage (aka gay
marriage) across the U.S. in its ruling of The Obergefell v. Hodges
case from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, & Tennessee.

Part 57:
2015-September:
More reactions to Rowan County Clerk Kim
Davis' arrest in Kentucky for contempt of court.
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We use the term "gay marriage."to represent the marriage of two persons of
the same sex. We prefer "Same-sex marriage," a more inclusive term that
includes spouses with a bisexual sexual orientation, but it would make this web
site harder to find because most search engines cannot handle synonyms.
"LGBT" refers to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons and transsexuals.
"LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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2015-SEP: More reactions to Kim Davis' imprisonment for contempt of court:

Quite a few Republican politicians who hope to be the Republican candidate for U.S. President in 2016 weighed in:
  • On SEP-03, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said:

    "I think it's absurd to put someone in jail for exercising their religious liberty. I think it's a real mistake and even those on the other side of the issue, I think it sets their movement back. ... What's going to happen is it's going to harden people's resolve on this issue. I think what's going to happen is that state and localities are just going to opt out of the marriage business. ... This is a really the problem when we decide to get involved in a situation that has always through the history of our country been a local issue." 1

    Paul may not have considered the 1967 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Loving v. Virginia. It legalized interracial marriage across the U.S., just as the same court used the same 14th Amendment argument in 2015 to legalize gay marriages. Both were decided on the federal level.

    He suggested a compromise arrangement in which a notary public could sign the marriage license if the county clerk refused to authorize it.

  • Mike Huckabee is expected to visit Clerk Kim Davis in prison during the week of SEP-07. He is also planning to deliver a speech to supporters outside of the detention center where she is being held. Huckabee has added a petition to his web site calling for her release. By SEP-04, it had gathered more than 55,000 signatures. He appeared on CNN's program "The Lead" where he told Jake Tapper that her case as an example of the:

    "... criminalization of Christianity in our country. ... What we end up having is the first example of the criminalization of a Christian for believing in the traditional definition of marriage."

Huckabee also issued a statement saying:

"We must defend religious liberty and never surrender to judicial tyranny. I am proud of Kim for standing strong for her beliefs. Who will be next? Pastors? Photographers? Caterers? Florists? This is a reckless, appalling, out-of-control decision that undermines the Constitution of the United States and our fundamental right to religious liberty."

Huckabee does not seem to be referring here to the traditional meaning of "religious liberty" which includes freedom of religious belief, religious speech, religious assembly, religious proselytizing, etc. He appears to be referring to the new meaning of the term which involves the religious freedom to discriminate against others. In this case, it involves discrimination against loving committed same-sex couples who wish to marry.

  • Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is reported as saying that Clerk Davis' arrest for contempt of court was the first time that the government has arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith.

    That appears unlikely. There must have been thousands of people arrested during civil rights demonstrations during the mid-20th century because they were living according to their faith by promoting desegregation and equality. Certainly hundreds of them would have been women. There was also heavy persecution of Quakers and other minority Christians during the colonial era.

Senator Cruz issued a statement saying:

"Those who are persecuting Kim Davis believe that Christians should not serve in public office. That is the consequence of their position. Or, if Christians do serve in pubic office, they must disregard their religious faith -- or be sent to jail. Kim Davis should not be in jail. We are a country founded on Judeo-Christian values, founded by those fleeing religious oppression and seeking a land where we could worship God and live according to our faith, without being imprisoned for doing so." 1

  • Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) told the Huffington Post:

    "I don't think anyone should have to choose between following their conscience and religious beliefs and giving up their job and facing financial sanctions. I think it's wrong to force Christian individuals or business owners. We are seeing government today discriminate against whether it's clerks, florists, musicians or others. I think that's wrong. I think you should be able to keep your job and follow your conscience." 1

  • Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) said on the Laura Ingraham Show:

    "In the end, this is the balance that you gotta have to have in America, between the laws that are out there, but ultimately ensuring that the Constitution is upheld. I read that the Constitution is very clear that people have freedom of religion -- you have the freedom to practice religious beliefs out there, it's a fundamental right." 1

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Many conservative Christian agencies have weighed into the Kim Davis case:

  • Tony Perkins of the Family Research Center is raising a petition to have Kim Davis released from jail. He wrote, in part:

    1. Perkins: "Our Constitution guarantees Kim Davis the right to practice her faith. It's called "freedom of religion," and is the first freedom listed in the Bill of Rights." 2

    Webmasters comment: This is true. She is guaranteed freedom of religious belief, assembly, speech, proselytizing, etc. But there are limits imposed by the state. For example, Proverbs in the Bible tells parents to beat their children with a rod. But many Child Protective Services limit such corporal punishment to beatings that do not leave a mark on the child. The right to religious freedom is restricted, just like the right to wave one's hands in the air at a public gathering. That right is limited when one's hands contact another person's nose.

    2. Perkins: "The couple demanding she issue them a marriage license claims Kim's exercise of her freedom of religion has imposed a burden on them. Yet they have had many other options for obtaining a license and have, in fact, now gotten one." 2

    Webmasters comment: Actually, there were four couples who tried to obtain a marriage license in Kim Davis' office: two were of opposite sexes; two were of the same sex. All opposite-sex and same-sex couples in the area can now obtain licenses from Davis' deputies in her office. However that was only as a result of an order from the District Court judge.

    Kim Davis used the same argument in court. But the judge rejected it because if Ms. Davis were allowed to pick and choose to whom she would provide services, then other clerks in the state would probably start to discriminate in the provision of services as well.

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Eugene Scott & Jeremy Diamond, "Mike Huckabee to visit Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in jail," CNN, 2015-SEP-04, at: http://www.cnn.com/
  2. Tony Perkins, "Help free Kim Davis from jail," Family Research Center, 2015-SEP-05, at: http://www.frc.org/

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How you may have arrived here:

Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2015-SEP-06
Latest update: 2015-SEP-06
Author: B.A. Robinson
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