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Kentucky Clerk Loses Another Argument Over Refusal To Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

church-state-street-signs

In the latest development in a saga that has been going on since the Supreme Court handed down it’s decision in Obergegell v. Hodges legalizing same-sex marriage two months ago, a Clerk of Court from Kentucky has lost yet another round in her ongoing court battle to continue refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday refused to allow a county clerk in Kentucky who objects to same-sex marriage on religious grounds to continue to deny marriage licenses to all couples, gay or straight.

In June, in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court established a nationwide constitutional right to same-sex marriage. The new case from Kentucky, Davis v. Miller, was the court’s first opportunity to consider whether government officials may refuse to comply with the Obergefell decision on religious grounds.

The case concerns Kim Davis, an elected clerk in rural Rowan County, Ky. After the state’s governor told county clerks to issue marriage licenses to all eligible couples, a federal court rejected Ms. Davis’s argument that she should be excused from the obligation given her religious beliefs.

Ms. Davis’s lawyers filed an emergency application on Friday with Justice Elena Kagan, the member of the Supreme Court who supervises cases arising from the judicial circuit that includes Kentucky. She referred the matter to the full court.

“This is a matter of first impression,” Ms. Davis’s application said, “with far-reaching implications across the country for religious liberty.”

Ms. Davis told the Supreme Court that her Apostolic Christian faith forbade her to affix her name to a document endorsing the view that the marriages of gay men and lesbians were authentic. “This searing act of validation would forever echo in her conscience,” her lawyers told the court.

Ms. Davis should not have to choose between her sincerely held religious beliefs and her livelihood, her lawyers said, particularly when same-sex couples can obtain licenses in other counties. “More than 10 other clerks’ offices are within a one-hour drive of the Rowan County office,” Ms. Davis’s lawyers wrote.

In August, Judge David L. Bunning of Federal District Court in Ashland, Ky., temporarily barred Ms. Davis from “applying her ‘no marriage licenses’ policy to future marriage license requests” submitted by four couples, two same-sex and two opposite-sex, who had sued Ms. Davis.

Judge Bunning issued a stay that was set to expire on Monday. On Wednesday, a unanimous three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit refused to extend the stay for an appeal.

“It cannot be defensibly argued that the holder of the Rowan County clerk’s office, apart from who personally occupies that office, may decline to act in conformity with the United States Constitution as interpreted by a dispositive holding of the United States Supreme Court,” the panel said. “There is thus little or no likelihood that the clerk in her official capacity will prevail on appeal.”

While the marriage equality debate has largely died off with the Supreme Court’s decision in June, Davis has been at the center of the small pockets of resistance to the Court’s ruling that continue to persist, largely in the south but also in isolated places elsewhere in the country. Prior to the Court even handing down its ruling, North Carolina’s legislature passed over the Republican Governor’s veto a law that would allow clerks in that state to exempt themselves from having to issue licenses to same-sex couples if they had a religious exemption. After the Court’s decision came down, several Republican candidates for President, such as Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal, argued that government officials who objected to same-sex marriage should have similar rights, and the Attorney General of Texas told Clerks that they should feel free to ignore the Supreme Court if they had religious objections to same-sex marriage. While most states and most government employees complied with the law,many did not and the summer saw clerks  in Alabama and Arkansas, in Mississippi, and even a Judge in Ohio refuse to perform their regular duties in marriages involving same-sex couples and the State of Kansas continues to be involved in a legal battle over its own ban on same-sex marriage notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s decision.

In Kentucky, meanwhile, Davis quickly became the center of a political and legal storm as she refused to issue same-sex licenses from the moment the Supreme Court’s decision was handed down. Both the Governor and the Attorney General had made it clear to state officials in the wake of the decision that they were now required to comply with the law and recognize the marriages of same-sex couples, but Davis refused to do so and even instructed her deputies to refuse to issue licenses to same-sex couples. As a result, it wasn’t surprising that, just over a week after the Court’s decision was handed down, Davis was being sued by at least one of the couples that she had denied a license to after the Court’s ruling. As I noted at the time, it Davis clearly had no legal leg to stand on. Her argument that performing the duties of the position that she was elected to would violate her religious beliefs was obviously utter nonsense. First of all, her job merely requires her to issue a license, not to perform a wedding ceremony of any kind, so her task is merely ministerial in function and it’s simply absurd to say that signing a piece of paper is somehow a violation of her religious beliefs. In theory, there might be some government positions that would impose a job requirement that would infringe on someone’s First Amendment rights, such as requiring an Orthodox Jew to work on Saturday or punishing a Catholic for wearing a cross necklace, but this is not one of them. Secondly, as a government employee Davis simply doesn’t get the same rights to refuse to ‘do business’ with people that a private businessperson might have. She is required to treat everyone who comes into her office equally, and she is failing to do so.

Given the fact that her arguments entirely lacked legal merit, it’s not surprising that the Federal District Court Judge hearing the matter ruled against her and ordered her to immediately begin issue licenses to all eligible couples regardless of the gender of the people involved.  Despite that ruling, though, Davis has continued to refuse to issue marriage licenses and has sought to continue her seemingly hopeless legal battle. Last week, after the presiding Judge briefly stayed her ruling to allow Davis to appeal his decision and seek a stay from the appellate court, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals denied her request for stay. That left the Supreme Court as Davis’s final legal option to prevent the ruling from going into effect, and of course now that avenue is closed for her.

At this point, it is unclear what Davis will do in response to the Court’s ruling. If she continues to refuse to issue licenses, then she will be in violation of the District Court’s Order and risks being held in civil or criminal contempt, which could end up with her being sentenced to jail for defiance of the Court’s ruling. In addition to those legal issues, there are also reports that the matter has been referred to the Attorney General of Kentucky for possible disciplinary action against Davis. Since the Clerk of Court is an elected position in Kentucky as it is in many other states, Davis cannot simply be fired, but she can be removed from office for a variety of reasons, including refusal to perform her job or violating the law. While Attorney General Jack Conway has largely remained on the sidelines throughout this long summer fight, he would not be able to do so if this matter continues. Of course, Davis could decide to comply with the Court’s order but that seems unlikely. She seems determined to become some kind of a martyr here, so that will require her to remain defiant no matter how illogical that defiance many be.

Update: The Associated Press is reporting that the Rowan County Clerk’s Office is continuing to refuse to issue licenses to same-sex couples:

And, apparently she thinks the can appeal to a higher authority than the Supreme Court:

More from The New York Times:

A county clerk in Kentucky who objects to same-sex marriage on religious grounds denied licenses to gay couples on Tuesday, despite the Supreme Court refusal to support her position.

The clerk of Rowan County, Ky., Kim Davis, stopped issuing all marriage licenses the day the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June. After the state’s governor told county clerks to issue marriage licenses to all eligible couples, a federal court rejected Ms. Davis’s argument that she should be excused from the obligation given her religious beliefs.

Ms. Davis’s lawyers filed an emergency application on Friday with Justice Elena Kagan, the member of the Supreme Court who supervises cases arising from the judicial circuit that includes Kentucky. The Supreme Court on Monday declined to intervene in the case, leaving Ms. Davis no legal grounds to refuse to grant licenses to same-sex couples.

But on Tuesday, according to news reports, Ms. Davis again refused to issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Two couples were denied licenses after the office opened, according to The Associated Press, which reported that a deputy clerk told April Miller and Karen Roberts, who came to the office followed by dozens of television cameras, that no licenses would be issued and refused to make Ms. Davis available.

A second couple, David Moore and David Ermold, rejected for a fourth time, demanded to speak with Ms. Davis. “Tell her to come out and face the people she’s discriminating against,” Mr. Ernold shouted, The A.P. reported.

At first, Ms. Davis remained in her office with the door closed and blinds drawn, but she emerged a few minutes later, saying that her office would continue to deny the licenses “under God’s authority,” according to media reports.

Ms. Davis asked Mr. Moore and Mr. Ermold to leave, but they refused to do so.

“We’re not leaving until we have a license,” Mr. Ermold said, according to media reports.

“Then you’re going to have a long day,” Ms. Davis told him.

The next step will be for someone to return to the District Court and ask the Judge to take action based on her refusal to comply with his order.

Update #2: Davis has been summoned to Federal Court on Thursday:

A county clerk in Kentucky who has invoked “God’s authority” and is defying the U.S. Supreme Court by refusing to license same-sex marriage has been summoned along with her entire staff to explain to a federal judge why she should not face stiff fines or jail time.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning moved swiftly Tuesday after a lesbian couple asked him to find Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in contempt. Davis told several couples and a crowd of supporters and protesters that her religious beliefs prevent her from sanctioning gay marriage, and then retreated again, closing her office door and blinds to the raucous scene outside.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene Monday night, leaving Davis no legal ground for her continued refusal Tuesday morning. Lawyers for the two gay couples who originally sued her asked the judge Tuesday to find her in contempt, but punish her with only financial penalties, not jail time.

“Since Defendant Davis continues to collect compensation from the Commonwealth for duties she fails to perform,” they asked Bunning to “impose financial penalties sufficiently serious and increasingly onerous” to compel her immediate compliance without delay.

As an elected official, Davis can’t be fired; her impeachment would have to wait until the Legislature’s regular session next year or a costly special session.

Davis rejected David Moore and David Ermold’s license request for a fourth time, and then told them to leave.

“We’re not leaving until we have a license,” Ermold said as reporters and cameras surrounded them.

“Then you’re going to have a long day,” Davis told him, and then retreated into her inner office.

From the back of the room, Davis’ supporters said: “Praise the Lord! … Stand your ground.”

Other activists shouted that Davis is a bigot and told her: “Do your job.”

The sheriff then moved everyone out to the courthouse lawn, where James Yates and Will Smith Jr., who were denied a license for a fifth time, left red-eyed and shaking.

“It’s just too hard right now,” Yates said, choking back tears and holding hands as they rushed to their car.

Thursday should be an interesting day. Meanwhile, here’s video of today’s events in the Clerk’s Office:

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. KM says:

    Don’t toss her in jail. That gives her a soapbox to preach from.

    Fine her and her county separately and heavily. Double the fees every day and make sure to buy airspace in the paper and on the local news to announce daily how much her principles are costing them. If it goes on for more than a week (when it’s likely to be hundreds of thousands of dollars at least), start subtracting that amount from the federal aid the county is given to ensure it’s paid. Make sure the money goes towards something socially beneficial that will jack up their blood pressure like the Dreamers or PP.

    I’m guessing the local Jebus freaks are going to freak out when they realize that her defiance is coming right out of their personal pocketbooks. It’s all well and good to support Biblical things as long as you don’t have to pay for them, dontcha know. Her support will dry up real quick.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  2. Lynn says:

    Here’s the video of her refusal — hope it gets through moderation

    https://www.facebook.com/HillaryThorntonWymt57MountainNews/videos/471513363010011/?pnref=story

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. Scott says:

    Ms. Davis should not have to choose between her sincerely held religious beliefs and her livelihood, her lawyers said

    Why not? Live is full of choices. This is the same category as pharmacists refusing to fill a legitimate prescription because of some “sincerely held religious beliefs”. A dodge if I have ever seen one. At some point, someone is going to claim some really absurd “SHRB” at which point someone is going to have to adjudicate what is SHRB or not. Slippery slope and path to chaos.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Seeing as she wants to be a martyr so badly, I’ll happily provide the hammer and nails with which to hang herself on the cross she has built.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. Blue Galangal says:

    @KM: I don’t know; I think you’ve got a good plan. But the fact that she won’t resign because “I have a mortgage to pay” makes me want to see her in jail. If you have a mortgage to pay, do your frickin’ job.

    She makes four times the average salary in Rowan County. I don’t doubt she doesn’t want to give that up.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  6. grumpy realist says:

    Does anyone know what happened to the judge in Ohio who refused?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  7. KM says:

    @Blue Galangal:

    Oh she won’t quit, no sirree! – it’s going to be a recall or some other method to remove this elected idiot from her entrenched position. That’s why I think we need to put the pressure on the county and its inhabitants; they will get rid of her once she’s too big of a liability. After all, they elected her and therefore hold responsibility for removing her when she can no longer do her job. Because then voters have a bare-bones choice: support the woman who’s costing them precious dollars in the name of the Lord when it hurts or being able pay for things and acknowledge your faith has practical limits in the secular world.

    You can believe whatever the hell you want but you cannot punish or discriminate against another because of it. We need to put the brakes on this crap NOW or its going to get ugly fast. Like Scott said, I don’t want the courts to decide what a SHRB is; I don’t want that intrusion into my First Amendment rights. These kinds of stunts are a threat to the rights of all Americans because when they start delineating them (and they’ll have to at this rate), we ALL lose big time. Fine her for every penny she has and garnish her wages unto eternity if necessary. Money Talks, Bullshit Walks.

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  8. @grumpy realist:

    He was advised by the state Judicial ethics board that he cannot refuse to perform same-sex marriages.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  9. SenyorDave says:

    At this point I am assuming that Davis will go the mat on this one. If she is removed, there will be some type of jackpot from the rubes, probably a couple of hundred thousand bucks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  10. @SenyorDave:

    She will end up becoming the latest darling of the Fox News/700 Club/Breitbart crowd.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  11. Davebo says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    She will end up becoming the latest darling of the Fox News/700 Club/Breitbart crowd Republican Party.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 2

  12. C. Clavin says:

    It’s a legal matter…
    Simply provide a paper trail proving beyond a reasonable doubt God’s Authority and we’re done.
    Oh…what’s that? You can’t? You just assume that’s what God thinks? You can’t prove what she thinks? Well then, WTF????

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  13. Ron Beasley says:

    Put her fat ass in jail for contempt of court. She is an elected official but can be removed for misconduct. Good buy to the $80,000 a year salary. She may well become a FOX news martyr but judging from the standings of Huckabee and Santorum the religious right does not have the power they once had.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  14. al-Ameda says:

    Ms. Davis should not have to choose between her sincerely held religious beliefs and her livelihood, her lawyers said

    I wonder, has she ever refused to issue a marriage license to a hetero couple, one of whom she knows to have been divorced, or had been committing adultery?

    Just maybe she should practice her faith and sincerely held religious beliefs at a church (or at home) instead of at the office?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  15. Jacque says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    A municipal judge here in my county said she cannot perform same sex marriages, either, and the state is now investigating her. http://county10.com/2015/08/21/wyoming-judge-being-investigated-for-saying-she-wouldnt-conduct-same-sex-marriages/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. James Pearce says:

    The next step will be for someone to return to the District Court and ask the Judge to take action based on her refusal to comply with his order.

    The next step should be to get a new county clerk.

    Not that I think the people of Rowan County are up to the task. It’s mostly a dry county, and that tells you all you need to know. (IE, they’re not big on personal freedom and are rather comfortable with using local government to enforce moral standards.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  17. anjin-san says:

    Put her in jail. I have no interest in this woman’s beliefs, just as she should have no interest in mine. She had her day in court.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  18. Paul L. says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    @anjin-san:
    Just like Abortion barbie with the ungodly progressives like you?
    What does Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway (D) intend to do about that defiant County Clerk?

    Kim Davis is an elected official. She can’t be fired; she can be impeached, but I suspect that selling that to the Kentucky state legislature would be tricky. A judge, of course, could order her jailed for contempt, and that will just get even more awkward for Attorney General Jack Conway (D).

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 21

  19. James Pearce says:

    @anjin-san:

    Put her in jail.

    If I were on the Left’s Strategic Action Committee, I would strongly urge against jailing Davis. She and her supporters see this as an issue of religious persecution. Jailing her will only play into that, make her martyrdom complete.

    She just needs to be removed from office. Simple as that. If the county has no mechanism to do this, they should come up with one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  20. Scott says:

    She’s not issuing licenses to hetero couples either. Therefore she is not doing her job, period. A hetero couple needs to sue also. She can’t claim SHRB there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  21. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    her office would continue to deny the licenses “under God’s authority,”

    I’m up for sending her to clerk for God, which is why (at least up until now) the country has been reluctant to elect people such as myself to high office.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  22. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Paul L.: Maybe Doug or someone else can explain this to me, but from the posted article, I’m not seeing how the GOP candidate’s solution of “just having the clerks file [the licenses]” solves the problem. In my state, the agent making the filing still has to sign and seal the document in question as the agent of the government–in essence, standing in as the representative of the State in approving the actions required by the document. Or am I incorrect about that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  23. C. Clavin says:

    This Davis woman is collecting compensation for services she refuses to perform.
    That’s fraud. This is not surprising coming from such a typical hypocritical zealot…nor is it surprising that Republican endorse her actions.
    Put her fraudulent a$$ in jail. Fwck the political fallout.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: There are 4 couples suing, 2 gay, 2 straight.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  25. Lit3Bolt says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Didn’t you know Jesus explicitly and repeatedly blessed the money changers in the temple?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  26. Kylopod says:

    One thing I find ironic is that conservative legal scholars over the years have generally held a more restrictive view of the Free Exercise clause than liberals have. For example, in the 1990 case Employment Division v. Smith, which allowed the denial of unemployment benefits to Native Americans who were fired for the use of peyote in a religious ritual, the majority decision was authored by Scalia and supported by Rehnquist and Kennedy, while most of the Court’s liberals dissented.

    Conservatives become the champions of “religious freedom” only when it involves the rights of the majority religion, Christianity, and usually when it impinges on the rights of a minority (blacks, Jews, or gays). You will never see Ted Cruz crawl out of the woodwork to defend a Jew’s right to wear a yarmulke or a Sikh’s right to wear a turban, or anyone’s right to take off work for a non-Christian holiday.

    The clerk’s logic is sort of like if a Jew took a job at a McDonald’s then sued the establishment for selling nonkosher food. Of course no Jew has ever attempted something like that because, Lord knows, we have enough on our plate. White Christian privilege is a comfortable mindset to live by.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  27. al-Ameda says:

    @Paul L.:

    Just like Abortion barbie with the ungodly progressives like you?

    Abortion Barbie took care of that in Mexico, Viagra Ken paid her airfare.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  28. the Q says:

    She should move to San Francisco where they have no problem disobeying the following of federal law. Just ask Karen Steinle. I am sure they will be welcome her with open arms as they too resist what they consider to be immoral regulations when it comes to sending back illegals to war torn countries or extreme impoverished conditions.

    The point is, one can’t decide which laws to follow and which ones one doesn’t. Doesnt matter if its this homophobic kook or the SF officials who don’t cooperate with ICE.

    I don’t see the difference.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 16

  29. al-Ameda says:

    @the Q:

    Just ask Karen Steinle

    *Kate*

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  30. Matt says:

    @the Q: The most obvious to me is that this post has nothing to do with SF…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  31. Jerry Reed says:

    @the Q:

    Did you see the movie “We’re the Millers? “I’m homophobic because I don’t want a penis in my mouth” Yep, that’s the world we live in today

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  32. James Pearce says:

    @the Q:

    I don’t see the difference.

    You don’t see the difference? Well, I suppose explaining it won’t help either then….

    Just ask Karen Steinle.

    Stop trying to make the Karen Steinle thing happen. She wasn’t killed because SF is a sanctuary city. She was killed because a dumbass put a gun in his hand.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  33. MarkedMan says:

    Yeah, the bible thumpers must really be rooting for this clerk to succeed. Play it out: she wins. The bible thumpers start running people for elected office who refuse to issue licenses to gays. The bible thumper governors appoint such people to the appointed positions. And soon a whole bible thumping state is able to deny marriage licenses to gay people. Those bible thumpers will be so happy! Imagine the smiles on their shiny faces!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  34. Just Me says:

    I think nailing her makes her martyr. Fine her or whatever less than jail.

    I don’t see a big deal in doing marriage licenses although I do think magistrates or judges shouldn’t be required to officiate a ceremony (officiating is truly being required to participate). Several states have some built in protections for those with religious objections to officiating weddings (somebody else steps in to do them so nobody is denied a wedding and frankly what gay couple wants their special day officiates by somebOdy opposed to their union?). I just don’t see how filling out paperwork violates any religious belief.

    I still think putting her in jail is the wrong move-but a part of me think this is theater deliberately designed to be a test case so she likely isn’t going to give in and do the licenses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. T says:

    @Blue Galangal:

    She makes four times

    speaking of “four times” …

    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/09/01/kentucky-clerk-fighting-gay-marriage-has-wed-four-times

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  36. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Just Me:

    this is theater deliberately designed to be a test case

    IMO Staver & Co. know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she has no hope in hell of prevailing. They’re using her as fodder for fundraising. Based on their professional misconduct here – knowingly advising a client to defy a federal court order – they should be disbarred.

    The sad part is that I’m not sure she gets it. She actually thinks she has a hope of prevailing. She’s about to be rudely awakened in that regard.

    What I’m finding interesting is that the district judge in question didn’t just summon her to federal court on Thursday. He summoned her AND her entire staff. It should be interesting to watch her clown car hit the bridge in a few days.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  37. gVOR08 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Wonder if the judge is letting the staff know that they are violating the law by following her instructions And that while she is elected and cannot easily be fired, they can be. Haven’t heard how the rest of county government feels about this.

    Kevin Drum points out that resistance is down to several counties in Alabama and two in Kentucky. This is so over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  38. grumpy realist says:

    A large number of commentators over at TAC are still fire-breathing about manning the barricades and anathematizing Rod for stating that this is a stupid hill to die on.

    Sometimes I think that there’s a brand of American Christianity dependent on an identity of “we’re being persecuted!” If nobody’s out there persecuting them, then by gum, they’re go out and pick a fight with someone to MAKE themselves persecuted. Because, y’know, JEEEAZUS!

    I was also amused by the commentator who pointed out that for a bunch of card-carrying pious moral traditional marriage tub-thumpers, Trump and Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh have ten, that’s count them TEN marriages among the three of them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  39. gVOR08 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    card-carrying pious moral traditional marriage tub-thumpers

    I’m not sure that’s a good description for Trump. I’ve been surprised at how easily Trump seems to be sliding past the religion thing. I think it’s a function of religion being mostly a marker of tribal affiliation, and with the nativism he’s got tribal affiliation covered.

    Jesus, he was a savior. A great savior. If I’d have been a savior I’d have been a great savior. I like saviors who don’t die. I’d have done the rise again thing without dying.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  40. KM says:

    @grumpy realist:

    What do you expect from a religion that glorifies being the suffering underdog and unfortunately has been the dominant faith of the globe for a really really long time? These wannabe martyrs don’t even understand what they are seeking. The original martyrs of the faith didn’t just “stick it to the man”, they suffered and died for their convictions in order to just be Christian. Today’s whiners don’t want any pain with their complexes. They want to live in comfort and never give up anything: no rights, privileges, status, jobs or even the front of the line but still retain that Woe Is Us mentality. If she was truly serious, she’d sacrifice her job security for her morals. That’s how you show your conviction – not posture behind a desk in a meaningless gesture. If she’s a true believer, she should put down the mike and pick up the Bible since Jesus was fairly clear about what happens to those who can’t commit.

    ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  41. Blue Galangal says:

    @gVOR08: I was thinking about that on my way in to work this morning. Can he fine each one of her staff for not complying as well? I honestly don’t know how this works. I assume they have to obey her as the person in charge but they have to obey the law. It seemed like someone at ACLU and in Kentucky was listening to KM’s suggestions, given that they aren’t requesting jail time, just fines sufficient to make her (and her staff?) comply.

    Looks like that 1.5 million surplus she’s boasting about is about to be eaten up.

    I so want to see one of the lawyers ask her if the gay couples she’s refusing to serve can start paying their taxes in a county that will serve them. I’d also like to see her be asked if it would have been okay for a clerk to refuse to issue her one of her several marriage licenses because divorce was ungodly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  42. DrDaveT says:

    @the Q:

    The point is, one can’t decide which laws to follow and which ones one doesn’t.

    I disagree. The entire point of civil disobedience is precisely to decide which laws you will obey and which ones are too egregious to tolerate — and then to suffer the legal consequences of that refusal, thus shaming the government publicly.

    Of course, it only works if the government is shamed, which in turn only works if public opinion is pretty strongly on your side domestically, or the opinion of the rest of the world is massively against the laws you are refusing to obey. Neither of which is the case here.

    So, I don’t think I agree that putting her in jail would just create a martyr. The gay-haters don’t need any martyrs; they’re already congealed into their position. Nobody who is OK with gay marriage is going to conclude that maybe they shouldn’t be, based on the fate of Ms. Davis. I think the lack of outrage that such an incarceration would generate might be salutary. (Of course, within the Echo Chamber there would be plenty of outrage — but there is already. They have an endless supply…)

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  43. grumpy realist says:

    @DrDaveT: It does seem to be a wee bit different if you’re an ordinary citizen disobeying a law you feel unjust, and a government official in a position of power deciding to impose your religious beliefs on everyone who comes before you.

    I mean–where does it stop? Does a Quaker get to refuse to hand out gun permits? A Muslim gets to refuse to provide liquor licenses? Or refuse to serve any woman who appears before him in anything aside from a burka because “she’s an immodest female”?

    Be careful about “religious freedom” being used to do whatever you want, because you may be at the receiving end of such behavior….

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  44. the Q says:

    DrDave, yes when Martin Luther King does it for a liberal cause, its applauded, when a wingnut does it for a ridiculous cause, they are denigrated.

    So obviously its not the disobedience, its whether the KKK is disobeying or if its the NAACP.

    My point, thoroughly missed here, is what is the difference between what the clerk is doing and what SF officials are doing vis-a-vis federal law? At least no one died because the of the clerks intransigence.

    And no on answered my question…I really want the neo libs on here to point out the differences. Thank you.

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  45. grumpy realist says:

    @the Q: When the CA clerks were told what they were doing was illegal, they stopped.

    This nitwit is still refusing to follow the law.

    Big difference.

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  46. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Just Me:

    although I do think magistrates or judges shouldn’t be required to officiate a ceremony (officiating is truly being required to participate).

    When I was growing up among the General Association of Regular Baptists (a, currently, microscopic splinter denomination teetering on the edge of a well-deserved oblivion and irrelevance), one of the things that our pastors were correct on was the notion that as Christians, we needed to consider the tasks that our jobs would require us to perform as part of the decision making process for seeking work. The theory was that God would not want us to take jobs that would require us to compromise our beliefs. It was all connected to some notion that living a life consistent with what we said we believed was more important than earthly riches or honors. It seems so quaint now.

    While I see your point, from the Christian perspective I was raised with, it is exactly backwards; if performing the ceremony creates a conflict the answer is to not become a magistrate in the first place (or resign if the ceremony is a change of duties), not ask for an exemption.

    I do wonder where that type of Christianity went, but I don’t see it anymore. (sigh)

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  47. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @HarvardLaw92: For some reason, your comment reminded me of a line that heard on a legal show from the 90s:

    In a law firm, we have a name for the people who go to jail; they’re called “clients!”

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  48. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @grumpy realist: @KM: This was another thing that our pastors were right on–persecution, whatever you perceived it to be, would come with the territory and should be accepted with the grace and dignity that Jesus accepted his with. As I say, it seems so quaint now. (But I do get why it’s difficult for the members of the majority religion to see this point :-)) )

    @gVOR08: I wish I could upvote your last paragraph about a zillion times–very clever and dead on!

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  49. Grewgills says:

    @the Q:

    DrDave, yes when Martin Luther King does it for a liberal cause, its applauded, when a wingnut does it for a ridiculous cause, they are denigrated.

    So obviously its not the disobedience, its whether the KKK is disobeying or if its the NAACP.

    Of course the cause matters and of course the circumstances matter. It is ridiculous to stipulate otherwise. We celebrate civil disobedience when the cause is just AND those civilly disobeying are willing to accept the consequences of their actions rather than imposing the consequences on others. MLK’s cause was just AND he regularly accepted the consequences of disobeying unjust laws. This woman fails on both counts. You really should know better.

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  50. Tony W says:

    http://imgur.com/H7KVvdZ

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  51. Barry says:

    @Blue Galangal: “She makes four times the average salary in Rowan County. I don’t doubt she doesn’t want to give that up.”

    And her mother held the job, and her son works in the office…………..

    It’s plain old small town grift, and small town petty government tyranny.

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  52. Barry says:

    @the Q: “DrDave, yes when Martin Luther King does it for a liberal cause, its applauded, when a wingnut does it for a ridiculous cause, they are denigrated.”

    Tell me, was this Senator MLK?

    Governor MLK?

    President MLK?

    General MLK?

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  53. DrDaveT says:

    @the Q:

    DrDave, yes when Martin Luther King does it for a liberal cause, its applauded, when a wingnut does it for a ridiculous cause, they are denigrated.

    Exactly.

    So obviously its not the disobedience, its whether the KKK is disobeying or if its the NAACP.

    No. It’s not the who, it’s the what. If you’re in jail because you refuse to accept immoral (but legal) behavior, and society is ready to recognize that you’re right, then it might work — if not for you, then for the next generation. If you’re in jail because you want to continue to be immoral even though it’s no longer legal, you’d better hope that society is still immoral too.

    (If you’re on the moral side but society isn’t ready for that yet, you’re screwed. Maybe your grandkids will retcon you into a martyr.)

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  54. DrDaveT says:

    @grumpy realist:

    It does seem to be a wee bit different if you’re an ordinary citizen disobeying a law you feel unjust, and a government official in a position of power deciding to impose your religious beliefs on everyone who comes before you.

    I didn’t mean to imply otherwise. Yes, Ms. Davis’s behavior is significantly more egregious than that of an ordinary citizen (say, a Cliven Bundy) going to jail (don’t I wish) for flouting the laws he doesn’t choose to be bound by.

    And you hit the nail on the head when you point out that this isn’t about religious freedom. If this were a Muslim refusing to issue licenses to alcohol drinkers, or a Jew refusing to issue licenses to pork-eaters, or a Hindu refusing to issue licenses to hunters, the case (and the job) would not have lasted 7 seconds. This is about Christian privilege.

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  55. Kylopod says:

    Because everyone always learns the amazing stories of Gandhi and MLK, many people don’t realize the numerous times civil disobedience has failed as a tactic. If you look through the history of attempts across the globe, what strikes you is that not only are some of the cases morally questionable (which of course depends on your point of view), but they typically prove ineffective at confronting the problems they are trying to combat.

    Indeed, the man who coined the term “civil disobedience,” Henry David Thoreau, is a good example of when the tactic is not effective. Thoreau’s basic position was that the US government was illegitimate because of its support for slavery and warfare, and so Thoreau decided he would express his opposition to this evil country by refusing to pay his taxes.

    Thoreau rightly gets credit for coming up with the concept, but it’s safe to say his actions didn’t have much to do with the abolition of slavery.

    One thing I’ve noticed about the civil disobedience of MLK was how limited it was. It wasn’t about breaking laws wholesale to protest the government’s policies, it was about refusing to comply with particular laws the movement deemed unjust. Furthermore, essential to their success was that they knew their actions would provoke a violent overreaction from the authorities.

    It’s that last point that especially gets lost in most modern attempts at this tactic. Let’s put aside for the moment whether the county clerk holds a morally defensible view. The simple fact is that there’s no realistic chance that her actions will either lead to an end to the laws she opposes or stop the government from enforcing them. No cop is going to come and beat her with his baton, and no Youtube video is going to stir up tons of public sympathy for persecuted Christians such as herself, leading ultimately to the collapse of SSM laws in the country. It’s a lost cause, and I have a certain suspicion that she knows it too.

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  56. Grumpy Realist says:

    @Kylopod: there’s a good analysis in the book “Habits” about why Rosa Parks’s refusal to sit at the back of the bus ended up being so successful.

    This woman? Not so much. When you find yourself getting compared to the people against Loving v. Virginia and compared to George Wallace, you’re not on the right side of the optics…

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  57. KM says:

    God damnit, they jailed her. *sigh* Let the screaming from fundies begin!

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  58. Grewgills says:

    @KM:
    Good. Let em scream.

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  59. gVOR08 says:

    @KM: Just got that word in an email from my wife. I suppose I should be more sympathetic and charitable and take into account that it’s the last throes as they face defeat. But d**n I’m tired of these people.

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  60. KM says:

    @Grewgills @gVOR08:

    The reason being listed for not going with the fines was that her church (or some other group) would pay them and thus weren’t sufficient punishment for her personally. I would have bled them dry regardless; every penny not in their hateful coffer is a penny that out free, doing less damage in the world. The judge felt the cell will change her mind; I highly doubt it.

    I was against jail because the point was to make everyone aware that this was unacceptable. In a cell, she can hold court and be talked about and nobody learns anything. Fines against the county makes the taxpayers think with their pocketbooks, not their “feels”. You are far more likely to influence someone for good via cold hard cash then playing into their delusions. You can’t change people like Kim Davis; they are a complete write-off. However, there’s a whole county out there that might still have a chance at sanity. This is NOT how to reach them.

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  61. KM says:

    Also, just found the BEST Twitter feed on this whole mess:

    https://twitter.com/nexttokimdavis/status/638937536656642048

    https://twitter.com/nexttokimdavis/status/638951028109406208/photo/1

    NSFW due to the language but so worth it. :) :) :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  62. Jack says:

    @KM:

    You can’t change people like Kim Davis; they are a complete write-off.

    Democrat Kim Davis.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  63. Mu says:

    @Jack: Luckily, our loonies only make it to county clerk, they don’t stand on TV 10 strong trying to become president.

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  64. Grewgills says:

    @KM:
    That money and more will go to her legal defense fund and other nonsense surrounding her ‘martyrdom’. Her in jail does extend her 15 minutes, but it also gets the rubes throwing even more money her way or at least in the direction of her lawyers.

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  65. DrDaveT says:

    @Jack:

    Democrat Kim Davis.

    Yep. Some Democrats are a total waste of skin. We get that.

    That’s part of what makes us different from Republicans.

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