A new chapter in the battle between the state and religious liberty has begun. Ground zero became a Rowan County, Kentucky jail
County clerk, Kim Davis is not in any way seeking to stop same-sex marriages in her county. She simply doesn’t want to issue those licenses. To do so would make her a participant in that which her faith teaches violates God’s law. She’s fine with recording any legal marriage license. She just doesn’t want her name affixed to it. Marriage licenses are permanent records and remain in county records permanently.
The judge could have ordered the state of Kentucky to change the licenses. Instead he ordered Kim to jail.
Michael Keegan of the far-left People for the American Way made this reasonable-sounding statement:
“Elected officials who feel like they can’t in good conscience fulfill their duties have an honorable way to proceed: They can find another line of work.”
We’re hearing this sentiment from some presidential candidates. Carly Fiorina would protect your right of conscience — but not if you work for the government. She said in an interview: “I think when you’re a government employee, you’re put in a different position honestly.”
Some would say to Kim: ‘Resign.’ Will we ask that of every person across the nation who inconveniences a gay couple by refusing to participate in what they sincerely believe is sin? If you’re faithful to natural and biblical law, are you now excluded from working for the government?
Same-sex marriage is being used as a weapon against religious liberty. Kim Davis is refusing to acquiesce.
She tried another way. Before the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Obergefell vs. Hodges in June, she was one of 57 clerks who wrote to the Kentucky legislature, then in session, asking lawmakers to (quote) “get a bill on the floor to help protect clerks” with religious objections to authorizing marriage licenses for same-sex couples.
The Heritage Foundation suggests ways the state of Kentucky could handle this:
- “Change the form, not the beliefs.” Modify Kentucky marriage licenses so the County Clerk’s name does not necessarily appear, instead using the name of the Deputy Clerk who processes the license.
- Allow an opt-out. North Carolina does. Clerks who object can decline to be involved in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples while the state guarantees it will find someone else to perform the function.
- Or, implement an online registration system for marriages. Hawaii has such a system.
The White House insists: no public official is “above the rule of law.” There’s a double standard here: Attorney General Eric Holder refused to abide by, uphold, enforce, or defend the nation’s law defining marriage as it has been for millennia. And when certain mayors — the most prominent being San Francisco’s Gavin Newsome — defied state law and issued marriage licenses to same sex couples, no one discussed imprisoning them.
At this crucial moment, we need lots of Kim Davis’s.