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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 67:
2015-SEP-21 to 27:

Kim Davis meeting with Pope Francis. (Cont'd)
What types of discrimination by county clerks
would be justified by Pope Francis' criteria?
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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-24: Clerk Kim Davis and her husband met with Pope Francis (Continued):

Governor Mike Huckabee (R), who is seeking the Republican nomination for President in 2016, tweeted that the Pope:

"... recognized something the DC/Wall Street chattering class will never understand -- Kim Davis followed her conscience & convictions."

Francis DeBernardo, who heads head of New Ways Ministry -- a Catholic group for the LGBT community -- said the Pope sometimes seems to:

"... talk out of both sides of his mouth [about LGBT rights. On one hand, he said] 'Who am I to judge' with regard to gay priests?' He has urged bishops not to engage in constant culture war fights over marriage equality. ... The time for vagueness, ambiguity, and secret meetings is over. Pope Francis needs to state clearly where he stands in regard to the inclusion of LGBT people in the church and society."

White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, said.

"Our religion freedom doesn't grant us the freedom to deny our fellow Americans their constitutional rights. ... Our position about ... Ms. Davis is quite clear: that the President believes strongly in the rule of law, and that's a principle that applies to those who are engaged in public service, starting at the level of the president of the United States, but even going down all the way to the level of the Rowan County clerk in Kentucky." 2

Phiip Pullella, writing for Reuters, said:

""Pope Francis' meeting last week with an American woman at the center of a row over gay marriage was not something he had sought and should not be seen as an endorsement of her views, the Vatican said on Friday.

One Vatican official said there was "a sense of regret" that the pope had ever seen Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk who went to jail in September for refusing to honor a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and issue same-sex marriage licenses.

The encounter in Washington was originally kept secret and has sparked widespread debate since it became public this week, proving something of a misstep for the pontiff."

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2015-OCT-02: Vatican released a statement on its version of the Pope's meeting with Kim Davis:

Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, the head of the Holy See Press Office released a statement on the Pope's meeting with Davis. He differentiated between "brief meetings" like that with Davis and formal audiences like the one with one of his former students and his student's family. The statement concluded:

"The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects." 3

Unfortunately, Fr. Lombardi's statement did not clarify Pope Francis' comment to the press which seems to plainly support any form of discrimination by civil servants if that discrimination is based on their sincere religious beliefs.

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2015-OCT-05: Tony Perkins' Washington Update weighs in on the meeting:

In an article titled: "A Pope-pourri of Distortion" the Family Research Council commented:

"In the largest security detail in American history, there's no such thing as a 'chance' meeting. But that's exactly what the media is claiming took place between Pope Francis and Kentucky's Kim Davis. Frustrated by the Pope's obvious support for the jailed clerk, the press is stirring up speculation about whether the conversation even took place.

Pouncing on the private nature of the meeting, everyone from Reuters to the Associated Press is casting doubt on the nature of the get-together, and whether -- in fact -- the Vatican actually invited the Davises to meet the Pontiff. Some reporters are now insisting it was a random encounter, which is laughable considering the amount of security involved in the Pope's visit. In a place like the Vatican Embassy, there's absolutely no way the two parties could have accidentally crossed paths. As [Kim Davis' legal team] Liberty Counsel explained, the Davises were actually transported to the meeting by van by the Vatican's own men. Kim was even asked to wear her hair up so that she'd be less recognizable."

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Where does the truth lie? (Pun intended):

Reports on the nature of the meeting and on what was discussed are clearly contradictory. It is unclear whether:

  • The meeting was by chance or was organized by the Vatican.

  • Kim Davis' refusal to issue marriage licenses to qualified same-sex couples was discussed.

  • Pope Francis supports Kim Davis' refusal to honor her oath of office and the U.S. Constitution.

  • It would probably be best to assume that Pope Francis' statements to the press during his return to Rome are accurate, but that all other accounts are to be taken with a pound of salt.

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2015-OCT-05: What types of discrimination would be justified by the Pope's comments?:

If Pope Francis' reported comments to the press during his return to Rome are accurate, and if they were followed by many civil servants, then county clerks would probably reject large numbers of applications for marriage licenses. Some Christian clerks might feel that providing a license to a couple would be a sinful act if it is against either the Bible or the policies of the clerk's own faith group. Examples might be:

  • Same-sex couples: as in the case of Kim Davis of Rowan County, KY, and based on the interpretation by religious conservatives of the six famous "clobber" passages in the Bible.

  • All couples which include a divorced person. Jesus clearly prohibits remarriage after a divorce as long as the previous spouse is still alive. One of many Bible condemnations against remarriage reports Jesus as saying:

    Mark 10:11: "Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her." 4 (KJV)

    The reference to "her" is somewhat ambiguous but probably refers to the man's original wife.

  • A couple which includes a divorced Roman Catholic who has not received an annulment of their previous marriage. That Church consider a marriage to be eternal unless it can be determined by a church court that the marriage was not validly entered into, and an annulment has been granted.

  • A couple of different religions, or different denominations within the same religion: Some faith groups prohibit such marriages. The Roman Catholic Church requires a Catholic engaged person to receive a dispensation for mixed marriages before being married to a person of a different faith. In a particularly intolerant passage, Paul forbade such marriages and rejected all non-Christian faiths as lawless and Satanic:

    2 Corinthians 6:14-15: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?"

  • All couples that include an "unbeliever: In the next verse, Paul writes that Christians should have no contact with unbelievers. Thus, a Christian clerk might be inclined to have no dealings at all with non-Christian marriage license applicants:

    2 Corinthians 6:16: "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing ..."

  • Couples that include a transgender person or transsexual: Many conservative faith groups consider transgender persons and transsexuals as having a gender that is unchanged from their birth-identified gender. Some clerks might consider such individuals wearing clothing typical of the gender with which they identify is a violation of the following Bible verse:

    Deuteronomy 22:5: "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God."

    The Hebrew word "to'ebah" is mistranslated in many Englist translations of the Bible as "abomination." But it actually refers to an action that is "ritually impure" under the Mosaic code.

  • A couple in which a woman is attempting to remarry her former husband from whom she had been divorced: This is not allowed if she has engaged in sexual behavior since her divorce, according to:

    Deuteronomy 24:4: "Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord."

If clerks were to follow Kim Davis' example and disobey the Golden Rule, disobey the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court, disobey their oath of office, and strictly follow the conservative interpretation of some Biblical passages and/or the teachings of their faith group, then it is probable that a large percentage of marriage license applicants -- both same-sex and opposite-sex -- would be turned away. Fortunately, for the couples involved, in most states they can simply go to an adjacent county for their license.

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2015-OCT: Current status of Gay marriage (a.k.a. same-sex marriage) in the United States:

Marriage licenses for same-sex couples are becoming generally available throughout the United States with the exception of the Territory of American Samoa where the territorial government still hasn't decided whether to follow the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. Couples are now routinely marrying. In some states in the U.S. Mainland, a few county clerks are opting out of proiding marriage licenses to all couples. However, same-sex couples can generally go to an adjacent county in their state.

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This section of the web site continues with an essay
discussing the Webmaster's views on how the conflict over gay marriage
might be settled wherever it materializes.

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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. "Ted Cruz’s Line on Gay Marriage Draws Hisses and Boos From ‘Late Show’ Audience — Watch Stephen Colbert’s Response," The Blaze, 2015-SEP-22, at:
  2. Ed Payne & Daniel Burke, "Kim Davis met with Pope Francis for 10 minutes, received a rosary,"CNN News, 2015-SEO-30, at:
  3. Father Federico Lombardi, "Holy See Press Office issues statement on Pope's meeting with Kim Davis," Vatican Radio, 2015-OCT-02, at:
  4. "Bible verses about adultery and Divorce, King James Bible Online, at:
  5. Phiip Pullella, "Sense of regret in Vatican over pope meeting with gay marriage opponent," Reuters, 2015-OCT-02, at:

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How you may have arrived here:

Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2015-SEP-15
Latest update: 2015-OCT-05
Author: B.A. Robinson
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