This article comes at a late time, as right now the matter at hand is over four weeks old, but with other smaller events unfolding after the passing of the beginning of all of it, I think it became time to write about this, with all the events being on the table.
Rowan County Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples two months after the United States Supreme Court ruled that states cannot constitutionally ban gay marriage. After a period of pressure, Davis soon denied all applicants their marriage licenses. Davis used her Christianity as the basis to stand on her “religious liberty” to not do her job correctly by denying same-sex couples licenses, and eventually decided to not issue licenses entirely. She was soon summoned to trial on this issue and jailed for contempt of court, only to be released on crowdfunded bail three days later, assorted out of the jail by Mike Huckabee and greeted by a cheering crowd of insane supporters outside of the jail. Afterwards, she went on with her job, allowing her staff to issue the licenses while also taking interviews in which she passed herself off as the victim.
What this all comes down to is the discussion of religious liberties — what people can and can’t do with this important liberty, so lets look at what it entails: Lets say we have an Orthodox Jewish man, and his religion prohibits him from eating pork or non-kosher foods. He has every right granted under the United States Constitution to not purchase or eat the foods, and not have the foods forced onto him. This is something you can do with this right. What you cannot do is force others to not eat pork or kosher because of what you believe in. Equally, this man in the necessary position cannot stall or deny the construction of a deli that sells pork or non-kosher foods because of his beliefs. If his duty is to grant the development of such establishments, his religious liberties cannot effect the liberties of others. This applies to other rights, e.g. the Second amendment: You have the right to bear arms for yourself, but this does not legally afford you the right to shoot up a school or randomly execute someone. This sort of thing is where civil liberties become confused with entitlements to the changing of an aspect of society. Kim Davis’ religious beliefs (or rather the interpretation of the Bible) made her disapprove of same-sex marriage, and with her job being to issue marriage licenses, now nationally guaranteed to gay couples of the United States via the Supreme Court’s ruling, she felt the entitlement from her view of religious liberty to ignore her duty as County Clerk, and essentially become an angry child sitting and pouting on the ground, refusing to leave her job if she could not set her personal views aside. One person’s liberty is not the liberty to harm others.
People in support of Davis likened her actions to those of historic people engaging in civil disobedience. There are times where defiance of the law is almost objectively necessary, where defiance is in favor of the good of the general people, and what is being defied is clearly oppressive or unjust. This is what Thoreau, Gandhi and King did, whom all made great change in their time and place. However they were resisting obvious injustice, what Kim Davis was opposing was the United States putting its Constitiution’s words into action by disallowing discrimination against gay couples’ right to wed, an obviously great thing for a modern nation. Her pathetic crusade stemmed from personal speculation on what should and shouldn’t be allowed. She had every right to leave her job if her beliefs were more important than getting over them and doing what she gets paid for. She had no right to stay where she was and prevent others from engaging in their own pursuit of happiness.
This whole thing was completely ridiculous overall. It doesn’t matter if you support gay marriage or not, people need to learn to put aside their personal beliefs and do their job, especially if part of one’s job involved taking an oath, which Davis did. I can easily imagine if a Quaker’s job was to issue a concealed firearm’s license, people in that gun shop would be furious to hear that his faith will not allow him to own weapons, and therefore he refuses to issue the firearm license. They too would probably be saying the same things that the people in the Clerk’s office were telling Kim Davis. Its all about picking and choosing what will help their side of the situation. Unfortunately now, conservatives will use Davis as a sort of martyr of the notion that Christians are under attack by people who want social equallity. As a Liberal, appologies if my digusting belief that people should be treated equally conflicts with your pure idea that two loving people of the same sex, who have been together far longer than anyone Kim Davis has been with, shouldn’t get married.
I’m just glad this is over. Or is it?