By: Craig Andresen and Diane Sori / Right Side Patriots on CPR Worldwide Media / www.cprworldwidemedia,net
“I’ve weighed the cost and I’m prepared to go to jail, I sure am…this has never been a gay or lesbian issue for me. This is about upholding the word of God.” – Kim Davis, the woman who has made herself the flag bearer for the anti-gay marriage issue
Diversions…deflections…and all modes of roadblocks for a woman who’s been turned into a martyr by the religious far right as she, a civil servant, used her personal religious beliefs as a weapon of sorts to stop others…in this case a same-sex couple…from accessing their now SCOTUS awarded Constitutionally given legal right to civilly marry.
Now please understand before we go forward that this co-written article in no way is an attack on Christianity nor on anyone’s personal beliefs, know that we both are straight, and that we both are believers in the one true living God of the Christians and the Jews.
The U.S. Constitution, coupled with the SCOTUS decision against discrimination as per the 14th Amendment, makes it unconstitutional to “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”…and this is the touch-point in a case that has set religious Conservatives against more secular Conservatives with neither side realizing that by feeding into and focusing on the media driven hype surrounding this case that they are actually allowing the left to once again orchestrate what is the news. And in this particular case…a case that should have remained a local issue at best…now thanks to the media and a woman looking for her 15 minutes of fame coupled with a healthy dose of cash…has Kim Davis…who just four years ago says she “surrendered” her life to Jesus Christ… being jailed for refusing to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple. Setting herself up as their judge and jury, this woman willfully and knowingly violated the law for when the couple asked “under whose authority” is she refusing them their now legal right to civilly marry, she replied “under God’s authority.”
When Davis claims this is about upholding the word of God…and when those who support her and are desperate to make her a martyr use those words as the basis for their argument, they are all making a big mistake as none of them are separating Davis’ private life from her public job. To be clear, Davis is free to believe and worship how she so chooses in her private life, but as an elected official, and with no mention in her job description regarding the word of God, she is required to uphold the rule of law. And when you realize that this case has become ground zero for the religious far right seeing how far they can bend the letter of the law…Davis…the elected Clerk of Rowan County who has previously denied other same-sex couples their marriage licenses…set the stage for all that followed when within hours of the SCOTUS ruling asked that she be excused from performing same-sex marriages. Not happy when the High Court refused her request, Davis now relishes in being the Holy Grail of sorts in this fight, saying this was a “heaven or hell issue for me and for every other Christian that believes.”
“Christian that believe”…odd choice of words from a woman who like we said was not quite the epitome of a pious Christian woman just a mere four-years ago…we’ll get into that in a bit. And Davis saying…after the media started giving her her 15-minutes of fame…that she would not step down from her $80,000 a year taxpayer-funded elected position, because she would lose a platform from which to preach the Gospel. “If I left, resigned or chose to retire, I would have no voice for God’s word,” Davis said.
But the problem is that a government position, especially one that is taxpayer funded…is not now nor has it ever been the place to preach the Gospel…that is what churches are for. A government position is and must remain a secular position…no matter how some are trying to change that…and a fairly recent conversion in no way negates that fact for her or for anyone else. Davis, plain and simple, is a public servant and is one of her own free will…doing what she knew was a secular job…and nothing in her job description has canceled out that fact… and remember no one is denying her her personal religious beliefs. However, what Davis is being called to task for is breaking the law and for pushing her religious beliefs on members of the public who do not share her same beliefs.
The founding principal of ‘separation of church and state’…critical to the principals of a non-theocratic nation…has now come into play as some religious Conservatives insist the very institution of marriage is strictly religious in nature, and that efforts to force people to sanction something they are against violates the Constitution by intruding on their religious freedom. What these folks choose to forget is that prior to the SCOTUS ruling, 37 states issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples understanding that the Constitution does not allow states to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, and clerks of the court did issue the required licenses with no problem…that is until Kim Davis came along.
And now what most of the religious Conservatives point to in their mistaken belief as to why Davis was jailed is a law…made effective July 15, 1998…402.005 ‘Definition of Marriage’…which states “as used and recognized in the law of the Commonwealth, ‘marriage’ refers only to the civil status, condition, or relation of one (1) man and one (1) woman united in law for life, for the discharge to each other and the community of the duties legally incumbent upon those whose association is founded on the distinction of sex.”
That law stemmed from a November 9, 1973 decision by the Kentucky Court of Appeals. In Jones v. Hallahan, two women were properly denied a marriage license, but that decision by the court was based solely upon a dictionary definition of marriage, despite the fact that state statutes did not restrict marriage to a male/female couple its decision said that “in substance, the relationship proposed…is not a marriage.”
The religious sorts have also been attempting to make their case based upon the Kentucky State Constitution which states…“Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized,” an amendment which was added to the Kentucky Constitution in 2004.
On February 12, 2014, a U.S. district court ruled that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages established in other jurisdictions. On July 1, the same judge ruled that Kentucky’s denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples violates the U.S. Constitution, but stayed the implementation of his decision pending appeal, and both decisions were overturned on appeal. However, after the SCOTUS decision on June 26, 2015, citing any law or state Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages was in violation of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and therefore unconstitutional…Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway made a public announcement that the court’s order would be implemented immediately, thus nullifying any laws or Constitutional amendments against same-sex marriage.
A few key things of note here…first, the decision to ban same-sex marriage in Kentucky made by the Kentucky Court of Appeals in 1973 was based not upon any Biblical definition of marriage rather it was based upon a dictionary definition of marriage…a definition that has changed over the years. The original definition of marriage as written in the 14th century came from the Anglo-French word ‘marier’ and referred to both marriages of a man and a woman as well as to couples of the same sex. In fact, if you go to today’s Marriam-Webster dictionary or even dictionary.com you will find an adherence to this centuries old definition. Only the religious continue to define marriage as solely between one man and one woman, but the reality is that nowhere in the Bible does it say that.
Second, the SCOTUS did not, as religious Conservatives are claiming, write law in June 2015…what they did was interpret the law in accordance to the United States Constitution which is, indeed, their job. And in doing so they found that laws or Constitutional amendments offered or enacted by the individual states which barred or banned same-sex marriage were in violation of the “equal protection” clause of the 14th Amendment and were, therefore, unconstitutional as such laws and amendments were discriminatory.
Third, as per the June SCOTUS decision, and with Kentucky’s Governor and State’s Attorney General both implementing without delay the decision of the SCOTUS. thus nullifying Kentucky’s anti-same-sex marriage laws and Constitutional amendment, Kim Davis was not, as religious Conservatives claim, acting according to either Kentucky law or Kentucky’s Constitution…she was in fact, acting in direct opposition to them by denying same-sex couples a marriage license.
And lastly, Kim Davis was not…again as religious Conservatives claim...jailed for her Apostolic Christian beliefs…Davis was jailed for contempt of court and disorderly conduct after her deliberately orchestrated, second court date hissy-fit initiated just so she could become the for-profit ‘Go Fund Me’ martyr of the religious far right. And know that anyone who openly defies a court order and openly disrupts a court proceeding would also be rightfully thrown in jail.
Another important item of note as it pertains to the religious Conservative’s claim…actually a fabricated myth…that Davis was upholding Kentucky law…the law in question…402.005 ‘Definition of Marriage,’ as quoted above, contains this wording: “marriage refers only to the civil status, condition, or relation of one (1) man and one (1) woman united in law for life”…notice the important words ‘civil status’…as this means that no…we repeat no…religious applications to a marriage union is part of the law.
Also, another part of the same law religious Conservatives seem all-too willing to ignore is the reality of Davis having been divorced not once, not twice, but three times, making it hypocritical to claim she was upholding the law since part of the law referring to “only one man and one woman” has been deemed unconstitutional and thus nullified by the SCOTUS, while the “for life” wording had nothing whatsoever to do with the SCOTUS ruling…meaning Kim Davis not only broke the law by her refusing to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but that she also broke Kentucky law itself via her own three divorces.
Three divorces and four marriages within a fourteen-year time span. Divorced from husband number one in 1994, then from number two in 2006, and from number three in 2008…Davis’ twins were conceived from an affair with husband number three while she was married to husband number one and whom husband number two then adopted. Husband number four is a remarry of husband number two… and the biggest farce is that Davis did not stay married to husband number three, the father of said twins, but divorced him to remarry the man, husband number two, who adopted them…can you keep that all straight…bet you can’t and bet she can’t either.
And all these marriages and divorces were while Davis served in some capacity or other with the county when she apparently had no problem breaking supposed Biblical law. And the woman who thinks herself above the law, and has the audacity to speak of committed relationships, has been in a committed relationship…and isn’t that what marriage is…for at the most nine years out of the ten years she was married to husband number one, eight years with husband number two, and a mere one year with husband number three…when the same-sex couple wanting to get a marriage license have been in a committed relationship solely with each other for over 17 years. Now pray tell what right does this woman have to judge anyone regarding the sanctity of whom should or should not marry…simply…she has none.
And Kim Davis, the woman who says, “I am not perfect…No one is…But I am forgiven,” might believe she is forgiven in the name of her fairly new-found religious affiliation, but the truth is she is not forgiven in the secular eyes of the law. Continuing on in defiance, Davis, through her attorneys, issued a statement saying that any marriage licenses not bearing her signature were invalid even after the federal judge said Davis did not have to issue same-sex marriage licenses herself, she merely had to agree not to interfere with the five deputy clerks who had said they would issue them in her stead…which she would not agree to. And while the Rowan County Attorney rightfully dismissed her statement, Jack Conway, the Attorney General of Kentucky, is now considering the possibility of having a special prosecutor pursue potential charges of official misconduct against her.
And so the real questions that need to asked, and the ones that religious Conservatives trying to make Davis into a martyr do not want asked are clear…if Davis is allowed or even encouraged to hold her religious ground against Kentucky’s laws, U.S. laws, and the Constitution, what is to keep any Muslim in an elected position from using sharia law against our laws as the basis of their interpretation of what said laws should be, thus allowing others to hold our laws and Constitution hostage by invoking their personal religious beliefs as their excuse. And would those so eager to support Davis in her ‘supposedly’ First Amendment battle support others with whose religion they do not agree…we think not.