The battlefield today is the fundamental question America was founded on: what power does the government have over your right to live as you choose?
Gay-marriage advocates would rejoice at the Obergefell decision this summer, saying it establishes that the right to love and marry whom one chooses cannot be taken away by the government. And while the reasoning conveyed in Obergefell was shot through with logical holes and the public policy implications of the decision are less than promising, one could at least sympathize with the idea the decision expanded individual liberty.
But gay marriage works as an expansion of individual liberty only in a vacuum, and unfortunately it doesn’t live there.
Because there are lots of people who have deeply-held and legitimately-founded objections to the idea of gay marriage. In fact, there is no major religion on earth which offers in scripture the sanction of gay marriage. Even where religions permit polygamy, a marriage is still at its base the union of a husband and a wife.
So the demand for gay marriage under the law is also a demand to move opponents of gay marriage outside the law unless those opponents drop their objections. And while this might very well happen due to societal pressure over time, less than four months after Obergefell it’s completely unreasonable to refuse accommodation to those people whose religious belief is not compatible with gay marriage.
And this has played out across the country, where tyrannical left-wing state and local governments have persecuted a smattering of private citizens in the wedding industry for refusing to service gay weddings. This week, it’s playing out in Kentucky, where Kim Davis, the elected county clerk in Rowan County, has refused to issue marriage licenses to anyone since Obergefell as a protest against the decision.
Davis is currently in jail on contempt of court charges, because federal judge David Bunning, a George W. Bush appointee and son of former Kentucky senator Jim Bunning, ordered her to issue marriage licenses. The major problem here, as I understand it, is that Kentucky law requires the county clerk to sign not only the marriage certificate but a statement of validity of some kind, and Davis is balking at doing that on the basis that if marriage includes gay marriage then it can no longer be an institution valid under Christian principles in this country.
That’s a somewhat tenditious position, because it confers legitimacy on the Obergefell decision that Davis, if her beliefs have logical basis, shouldn’t agree to. “Straight” marriages have not changed as a result of Obergefell, and if the decision is an illegitimate one then it should have no effect on those marriages or the institution as a whole minus the “impostor” marriages the decision would create in Kentucky. Thus she should be giving marriage licenses to straight couples and not gay ones and maintain the consistency of her position opposing the Supreme Court’s decision.
And given the timeline of how the Rowan County case has played out, legally Kim Davis isn’t on particularly solid ground. The governor of Kentucky ordered all county clerks to issue certificates to gay couples and refused calls by the state legislature for a special session to pass a religious accomodation statute. She’s been up and down the chain of courts and lost everywhere, including having the Supreme Court refuse her appeal of the order to issue those certificates. So it is legitimate to call her a lawless public official. National Review’s David French, in a terrific piece explaining what a shambles this issue has become, describes what she’s done as a “revolutionary act,” though no more revolutionary than the act of the Supreme Court to create law which did not exist out of the Obergefell case.
And when Bunning threw her in jail yesterday, he became a truly odious figure. He turned Kim Davis into Rosa Parks.
Kim Davis isn’t an ideal heroine here. Until she found God in 2011, her personal life was a mess. She’s the elected county clerk in Rowan County because she ran to succeed her mother, who had held the position forever. One of her deputies is her son. She’s also a Democrat, which frankly in this day and age makes her part of a suspect class. As said above, the reasoning behind her decision not to issue any certificates to any couples isn’t great. But that stopped making a difference when Bunning threw her in jail – and he did so because, he said, simply fining her wasn’t enough because people would raise money to help her pay the fine.
That is tyranny, and Kim Davis is the victim of it no matter what you might think of her actions.
You can say that issuing those certificates is Kim Davis’ job and she ought to be made to do it regardless of what she believes. That’s more or less what Bunning said when he threw her in jail. He offered this regrettable quote…
“The idea of natural law superceding this court’s authority would be a dangerous precedent indeed.”
Mike Johnson brutally dismantled that idiotic reasoning here at the site this morning. Bunning needs to re-read the Declaration of Independence, because he obviously doesn’t understand what it says.
And then there’s how this blithering dunce decided to handle the logistics of getting those certificates issued with a recalcitrant Davis in stir…
Five of six deputies in the office of a Kentucky county clerk jailed Thursday for her refusal to issue marriage licenses after the Supreme Court allowed gays to wed say they will process the paperwork starting Friday.
But Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, whom U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning found in contempt of court, said through her lawyers that she will not authorize any of her employees to issue licenses in her absence. The judge placed her in the custody of U.S. marshals and had her taken to Carter County jail.
“My conscience will not allow it,” Davis said earlier to Bunning. “God’s moral law convicts me and conflicts with my duties.”
Jody Fernandez, who also is among the couples suing Davis, said she was still in a daze and did not expect Bunning’s actions but felt excited to move on. She also plans to head to the courthouse with her fiancé, Kevin Holloway, to get their marriage license.
Among Davis’ deputies, the holdout was her son, Nathan Davis. Yet as the other deputy clerks individually answered Bunning’s questions under oath, several had reservations in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, partly based on religion and partly because of worries about their legal authority to sign forms without an elected official’s consent.
Kim Davis’ lawyers also called into question whether any licenses issued in her absence would be legal.
But Bunning said couples will have to decide whether to take that risk on their own.
He indicated that he would lift the contempt charge against the defiant county clerk if deputies began issuing marriage licenses but said he was reluctant to release Kim Davis on Friday because of the possibility that she would stop the process and again try to go through the courts in a sort of ping-pong match. He also warned Nathan Davis against interfering with same-sex couples getting marriage licenses.
Allowing Kim Davis, who previously has said she is an Apostolic Christian, to defy a court order could create a ripple effect among other county clerks, Bunning said. Two other clerks in the state — Casey Davis in Casey County and Kay Schwartz in Whitley County — also had stopped issuing marriage licenses but have not had lawsuits filed against them.
“Her good-faith belief is simply not a viable defense,” said Bunning, who said he also has deeply held religious beliefs. “Oaths mean things.”
It’s a violation of Kentucky law to have the deputies issue those marriage licenses, so you have a federal judge sanctioning the violation of state law – and threatening Nathan Davis, Kim Davis’ son and deputy, against “interfering” to uphold state law by objecting to the licenses which are illegal without the clerk signing them.
You could say that Kim Davis ought to be impeached (can be impeach Bunning along with her?), simply for refusing to issue marriage licenses to straight couples, and you wouldn’t have a bad argument. At some point, either the Obergefell decision is going to have to go away or Kim Davis will have to go away, because it’s clear that we’re not going to have a reasonable accomodation given for the religious objections of public officials to gay marriage (and that is really not all that difficult; you can just go to an adjoining county and get a certificate – but the gay lobby refuses to make such compromises just like they refuse to find a different baker or photographer). And maybe it’s better for Kim Davis to go away; perhaps the voters in Rowan County will see to that at some point.
But if she does, the signal that will send is that observant Christians who want to practice their faith in their daily life are no longer welcome in the public sector. They’re the ones you can prosecute and jail – and they’re the only ones.
Because you damn sure can’t prosecute and jail leftist politicians who run sanctuary cities in flagrant violation of federal law. And you damn sure can’t jail leftist city officials who refuse to respect the 2nd Amendment rights of citizens to carry weapons.
No, we’ll have established a religion in this country, in direct contravention of the 1st Amendment. It’ll be the progressive leftist religion, which, like radical Islam, will brook no other faith in its midst.
In fact, shouldn’t Mitch Landrieu go to jail right this minute? He can’t claim a religious objection to paying New Orleans’ firefighters what he has owed them for a long time, especially after a judge just found him in contempt of court for his refusal.
I didn’t mention my American Spectator column yesterday, which is about Donald Trump. Trump has a problem, which is that there are a lot of conservatives like me who aren’t comfortable turning the GOP nomination over to somebody who has been a New York liberal all his life and clearly doesn’t “get it” when it comes to policy. I want somebody I can trust to reorganize the federal government and make it considerably smaller, to dispatch power to the states which always should have been state, rather than federal, power, to dismantle most of the federal regulatory and welfare state. There are several candidates in the GOP field I have a degree of trust in along those lines. Trump is more a populist who might take a hard line on immigration, which I like, and influence the culture away from the elite PC tyranny Washington and Hollywood have inflicted on us, which I also like.
But to convince me, he has to make a case for why I should give my support to him instead of one of the ideologically superior candidates. And while what I suggest wouldn’t necessarily do the trick, it might at least bring me to the point where I can make an accord with him.
Naturally, the Trumpsters (Trumpettes? Trumpians? Trumpkins!) in the comments at the Spectator take offense.
The white lefty pretends to be black by engaging in behavior befitting what would credibly be called a white racist stereotype of black people. Rachel Dolezal is beneath contempt.
This, which is the worst thing ever.
And finally this, which isn’t bad at all.