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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 58:
2015-September:
More developments on Rowan County Clerk Kim
Davis' arrest in Kentucky for contempt of court.
What the webmaster might do in her situation.
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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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Many conservative Christian agencies have weighed into the Kim Davis case (Continued):

  • Comments by Tony Perkins of the Family Research Center (Continued):

    3. Perkins: "Apparently Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is more concerned with imposing a moral and personal burden on Kim Davis than he is with accommodating her deeply-held Christian convictions. So, he is keeping her in jail." 1

    Webmaster's comment: Actually, the Governor had nothing to do with sending Kim Davis to jail, nor is he keeping her in jail. These were actions taken by the District Court. She can be released from jail at any time if she is willing to honor her Oath of Office in which she promised to obey the federal Constitution. Honoring her oath would also result in her following the Golden Rule as required by Jesus' statements as recorded in two canonical Gospels.

    4. Perkins: "This is wrong. We jail criminals, not people of conscience. We penalize wrong-doers, not people who simply decline a service for moral reasons. ..." 1

    Criminals are sentenced to jail for a defined period. Kim Davis is not a criminal. She has simply refused to perform her job as a public official in spite of rulings from the federal District Court, a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Although she is imprisoned at this time, she has the ability to gain her own release. She merely has to promise to not interfere with the deputies in her office when they issue marriage licenses. She doesn't even have to promise to issue to anyone licenses herself.

    You can sign Tony Perkins' petition on the Family Research Council web site. It says:

    "Dear Governor Steve Beshear,

    I stand with Kim Davis’s right to live and work according to her deeply-held religious convictions.  I urge you to immediately issue an accommodation to Kim Davis that will free her from jail." 1

    Webmaster's comment: Her employment requires her to follow the U.S. Constitution, including the 14th Amendment. That amendment requires federal, state, county, and local governments -- and their civil servants -- to treat people equally. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling on JUN-26 stating that this equal treatment extends to the marriages both of opposite-sex and same-sex couples. Since Ms. Davis has promised in her oath of office to follow the U.S. Constitution, and since the Supreme Court has the authority to declare state marriage laws unconstitutional if they conflict with the federal Constitution, she appears to have four options:

    • to promise to issue marriage licenses to all qualified couples (opposite-sex and same sex) in the future, or

    • to promise to not interfere with her deputies in the future as they issue such licenses themselves.

    • to continue her opposition to same-sex marriages in accordance with her interpretation of the Bible, and thus to remain in jail.

    • to wait in case the Kentucky Legislature decides to take some action. They could impeach her and thus remove her from office.

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Webmaster's note: What I would do if I found myself in Kim Davis' circumstances: [bias alert]

My views on civil rights are very different from Ms. Davis. My beliefs follow those of many state and local Human Rights laws and ordinances: that people should be treated equally, regardless of their gender, gender identity, race, religion, sexual orientation, skin color, etc.

If I held Ms. Davis' conservative Christian views about sexual orientation, and was rotting in jail on a charge of contempt of court, I would issue a statement similar to the following in the hope that all would accept it and release me from prison:

"Some people believe that when a county clerk authorizes a marriage license with their signature, they are merely stating that the couple meets all the legal requirements of marriage. I disagree. To me, afixing my signature has one additional function: it implies that I personally approve of the couple's subsequent marriage.

"I am a conservative Christian. My interpretation of the six "clobber" passages in the Bible that many Christians believe condemn same-gender sexual behavior is that God condemns such behavior under all conditions. Further, the Bible clearly defines marriage as a voluntary state entered into by a man and one or more women. Thus, I cannot approve of a marriage of any same-sex couple, and also feel that I cannot honorably sign their marriage license. To do so would violate my most fundamental religious beliefs.

Fortunately, there is no need for me to authorize any marriage licenses for same-sex couples. The ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell appears to give qualified same-sex couples the right to marry. However, it is not necessary for the County Clerk to perform this function. Kentuky law allows deputy clerks to authorize licenses whether I am in the office or not.

If I am allowed to resume my duties as clerk of Rowan County, I promise to:

  • Treat all customers who enter my office with respect as fellow humans made in the image of God.

  • Sign marriage licenses for all opposite-sex couples who meet the State of Kentucky's legal requirements of age, genetic separation, etc.

  • Refer any same-sex couples who are seeking marriage licenses to one of the 5 deputies in my office who has given their commitment to the District Court that they are willing to process marriage license applications by either opposite-sex or same-sex couples.

  • I will refrain from any form of interference in the provision of marriage licenses by my deputies to same-sex couples, unless it involves concerns over their legal eligibility to marry."

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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Reference used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. 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-07
Latest update: 2015-SEP-08
Author: B.A. Robinson
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