The Curious Case of Kim Davis

At the end of June, the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that state bans on same-sex marriage violated the 14th Amendment and were thus unconstitutional. This led to same-sex marriage being legal throughout the country.

The majority of places began to make the necessary changes within the coming weeks. There was no more uncertainty where the law stood. But in Rowan County, the elected clerk Kim Davis decided to take a stand and defy the Court’s ruling. Not only has she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, she has refused to issue any marriage license.

Davis filed a lawsuit in federal court after Kentucky Governor Steven Beshear told clerks throughout the state that they had to comply with the ruling and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The court ruled that she had to comply with the law. So she filed an appeal to the Supreme Court which also ruled this week that she had to comply with the law to which she is still refusing to do today.

Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman at a protest outside the Rowen County Clerk's Office. (c) Chris Hartman

Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman at a protest outside the Rowan County Clerk’s Office.
(c) Chris Hartman

This ordeal has opened up the old debate of religious liberty protected under the First Amendment and equal rights for all citizens. Kim Davis has been quoted saying that she was not issuing marriage licenses “under God’s authority.” As an Apostolic Christian, she says that she cannot issue marriage licenses as it goes against her religious beliefs.

Another Kentucky clerk that is standing alongside Kim Davis is Casey Davis who has stated that they haven’t tried to prevent same-sex marriage just exercise their First Amendment rights and that same-sex couples could go to a neighboring county to get their marriage licenses.

From that it would seem, we’d be going from the patchwork of states that either legalized same-sex marriages or banned them to the counties. This would seem to be even more confusing if it came to this. Sadly, what Kim Davis is failing to recognize is that the law is the law. It has been ruled upon and even affirmed now.

Kim Davis has the right to believe what she wishes. However, she is a public servant and should do her job. The key words in that sentence are “public servant.” If she is unable to perform the tasks of her job then she either needs to be fired or resign on her own. She does not have the right to decide which laws she will follow and which she will not.

I’m sure we could all get into a huge discussion about what is actually written in the Bible about same-sex marriage, women’s rights, shellfish, slavery, and many other things but that is not the point of this. Yes, we all have the right to freely believe and practice whatever religion we wish to so long as it does not affect anyone else.

When James Madison originally proposed what would eventually become our First Amendment this is what he had written regarding our Freedom of Religion:

“The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext infringed.”

The civil rights of NONE shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship. Same-sex marriage is a civil right. It has been ruled upon and affirmed. The Supreme Court even ruled back as far as Loving v. Virginia (1967) that marriage was a civil right and therefore was protected under the Constitution.

Let’s put this into a difference scenario. How would Ms. Davis feel if someone told her that because she is a woman that she cannot voice her own opinion and was subservient to her husband? The Bible does state this in Ephesians 5:21-30, “Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.”

I’m sure Ms. Davis would be quite vocal in her objection if someone were to enforce that upon her. Just like with the law, she doesn’t get to pick which parts of her religion she is going to practice and which she will not.

Despite what her religious beliefs or objections may be, the US Constitution is still the supreme law of this country (Article 6, Clause 2) and not the Bible. One may use the Bible for their own personal well-being and for their spirituality but it ends there. If Ms. Davis cannot separate these two things then she has no business being a public servant and should probably find a job at her church.

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3 Responses to The Curious Case of Kim Davis

  1. Donna says:

    Christians are called to obey God when man’s laws go against His standards. I read that opposite of the way you read it, “Her beliefs are too being infringed upon!

    • James S. says:

      Before I get into my response, I will first put out there that I was born and raised Catholic. Ms. Davis is not having her beliefs infringed upon. She is still allowed to believe what she wishes. She is still allowed to practice her religion even. She is NOT being prosecuted for being a Christian. She is being prosecuted for not obeying the law.

      Last time I checked the Constitution is the law of the country and has been since 1788. Under the Constitution, all citizens are equal under the law. When we talk about same-sex marriage, we are talking about civil marriages. All marriages are civil marriages in that every couple must go to clerk’s office and get that piece of paper for it to be legally recognized by the government. Religious organizations have the right to choose whether they are for or against or will recognize or perform such services. The First Amendment does adhere to this last part.

      How would someone feel if a Quaker refused to issue someone a gun license because it violated their religion? This past week, a flight attendant was fired because she refused to serve someone alcohol on a flight simply because it violated her religious beliefs. She was subsequently fired for it.

      In our modern times, we tend not to separate our private spiritual life. We want everyone to conform to what we believe… to our spirituality. And this isn’t how it’s supposed to work. Your beliefs are just that… yours. They do not go beyond you. My religious beliefs are my own. Just because I believe something doesn’t mean that anyone else should, and I don’t force those beliefs to anyone else.

      Now you may think to yourself that I’m forcing people that they need to agree with same-sex marriage. Quite frankly, I don’t care what someone thinks about it. Unless they are the two people getting married, it’s none of their business. People need to focus on their own lives instead of other people’s lives that have nothing to do with them.

      Now back to the point of Ms. Davis (and even the examples I put in my third paragraph here). If someone’s religious beliefs are so important to them that they cannot perform the basic tasks of their job then they need to not have that job and need to find something else… probably within their place of worship. We usually know what our jobs entails. One can’t become a flight attendant without knowing they they will have to serve alcohol.

      Right now, as I write this, on this TV channel that I work for we have a religious program airing. Pushing two buttons I could easily turn that program off and put us to black. I can’t do this action and claim that the program was violating my religious beliefs as it was giving a message that I don’t agree with. I would lose my job and would expect to. Coming into my job, I knew that my job entailed that I make sure that the program that is scheduled to air is broadcasted regardless if it violates my beliefs or not.

      So again, if one cannot perform the tasks of their job, they shouldn’t have that job. Ms. Davis’s rights aren’t being violated by her being in jail. Again, she can continue to believe what she wants. But she cannot take those beliefs into her job and then refuse to perform her job. As a public servant, it is also a waste of taxpayer dollars. She doesn’t get to decide which laws she obeys and which she doesn’t just because of her religious beliefs. We all have to follow the law. The law has been set and affirmed. Her appeals all the way up the line have been rejected.

      And one last note to this on a similar line. The 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote in this country. Women also have equal rights under the law via the Constitution. The Bible states otherwise. If one’s religious beliefs are that strong, one cannot choose which parts of it to obey and which parts not to… just like with the law.

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