Kim Davis is not a hero

Let’s get one thing metaphorically straight right from the start: When Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis refused to sign any marriage license that came across her desk in protest of the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of equality, she was directly violating the oath she swore (before her God) to uphold in her office. Her actions were discriminatory, and disgustingly reminiscent of the backlash couples met when the ban against interracial marriage was lifted in 1967. The just ruling in Loving V. Virginia was similarly challenged by local judges in Alabama (who refused to issue marriage licenses to loving couples citing their nullified anti-miscegenation state level laws) until 1970. This refusal to comply on Kim Davis’s part is the reason she was found in contempt, and not because she is Christian.

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The embattled? Kim Davis has since received an unfortunate outpouring of support from presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, who inexplicably offered to be jailed in her place (clearly the man has not watched one single episode of Law & Order), and Sen. Ted Cruz, who urges us all to remember that God wrote the constitution. Nope! Not it at all Ted. There is also fellow Kentucky Clerk Casey Davis, an apparent biking enthusiast in his spare time, who has lauded Kim Davis for “standing up for God like she thinks she should,” and is himself denying marriage licenses to gay couples in Casey County.

Thankfully, Kim Davis’s actions have been as vilified as they have been praised. She has even managed to incur the bottomless wrath of Westboro Baptist Church (admittedly, not a difficult task) who blame her numerous divorces as the reason Marriage Equality passed in the first place. Which just goes to show, that no matter how fanatically fundamentalist your approach, there is always someone out there more hardcore in their intolerance than you. On a lighter note, Jim Peterik of Survivor voiced his displeasure that the band’s megahit “Eye of the Tiger” was appropriated for Kim Davis’s release from jail, saying that he would not grant her the right to use toilet paper. Bless him, now I don’t feel so bad about rick-rolling my training classes with that song on their first day as technical support agents.

In the midst of this media circus, tensions between conservatives and the LGBT community have mounted to an all-time high. In the left corner of the ring we have the LGBT community demanding their equal rights (still), and in the right corner we have Conservatives demanding their right to religious freedom. Which are being encroached upon by our pride parades, obviously.

(Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)

In the hours following Kim Davis’s release from what basically amounts to self-imprisonment, her attorney publicly stated that she would not violate her conscience for the sake of her job, so that’ll be fun. Judge Bunning’s release of Davis hinges solely on the condition that she not interfere with couples seeking marriage licenses in her county. Davis and her legal team have asked Judge Bunning and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear that her name be removed from these certificates. In light of this request a new conversation has taken shape. One so ridiculous I can hardly believe it’s being entertained: How do we take Clerks out of marriage licenses? When Clerk Casey Davis was asked why he would not simply resign his office he stated that he had a mortgage to pay, and then in the very same breath advocated that marriage licenses be obtained online. So apparently, it’s a really affordable mortgage.

Out of 120 county clerks in the state of Kentucky three have refused to respect the ruling of the highest court in the land: Kim Davis of Rowan County, Casey Davis of Casey County, and Kay Schwartz of Whitley County. The reason you may not have heard about the last two clerks I mentioned is because they have not be sued, yet. As Chris Hartman (Director of the Fairness Campaign, a Kentucky Advocacy group I have volunteered for in the past) so eloquently put it: Any one of these clerks could have been Kim Davis, it just so happened to her. The Clerks state that they are invoking their first amendment rights, and that issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples would violate their religious freedom. Kentucky does indeed have a religious freedom bill, which serves to protect intolerant small business owners in their right to discriminate (yay!). However, as explained by Law Professor Katherine Franke on NPR, that law does not extend to civil servants who have a duty to uphold the law above all else. Apparently Davis’s legal team disagrees, as they have already filed an appeal with the 6th Circuit Court.

This is my issue: we are actually debating an option that would remove human beings from the business of issuing marriage licenses on the off chance that the clerk in your county is a bigot. That is not progress, justice, or freedom. That is enabling. I’m not saying it wouldn’t bandaid the situation, but the larger problem here is that Conservatives seem to be a little confused about the fact that this country was built on a constitution, not religion. I’m talking to you Senator Cruz. We didn’t change the process of obtaining a marriage certificate for the dissenters of Loving V. Virginia and we should not change it now. Civil Servants who are unwilling to fulfill the roles of their elected offices should resign the same as anyone who refuses to do the job they were hired for, and are paid to perform. The problem is not the process, it’s the people.

(Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)

The reason we have a separation of church and state, the reason our country is governed by a secular constitution is because this beautiful land of ours is not about force-feeding the religious beliefs of one party down the throats of the public. Asking an elected official to sign a legal document stating that you have, in fact, met the criteria to legally wed is not the same as forcing a man or woman of the cloth to sanctify a union. If Kim Davis feels that convicted in her beliefs, she has clearly missed her calling.

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