Kim Davis, the County Clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky, has been in the news ever since the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v Hodges, requiring all states to recognize and license homosexual “marriages.” Mrs Davis lost her final appeal, when the Supreme Court declined to take her appeal of a ruling that she must issue marriage licenses, something she ceased doing following the same-sex “marriage” ruling.
The Lexington Herald-Leader editorialized last Thursday:
After her latest legal setback, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has some decisions to make.
If she continues to defy the law and a court order, U.S. District Judge David Bunning has no choice but to find her in contempt and order her fined, imprisoned or both.
If her conscience really won’t let her issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, she should resign the $80,000 a year post that has long supported her family.
Davis, a Democrat, was elected last November to succeed her mother after working for her mother in the clerk’s office for 27 years. Davis now employs her son in the office.
It’s astounding that in almost three decades on the public payroll, Davis never sorted out the roles of government and religion under the U.S. Constitution that she swore to uphold. And it’s worth noting that 117 of Kentucky’s 120 county clerks are still issuing marriage licenses.
On Thursday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to delay Bunning’s order that Davis resume issuing marriage licences by Monday. The panel said Davis has “little or no likelihood” of winning her appeal.
And it’s true enough that Mrs Davis had little likelihood of winning her appeal; she lost it. But the editors continued:
Nothing reveals the absurdity of her position more clearly than her lawyer’s response to the latest ruling against her. Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver continues to insist that elected public officials have a constitutional right to pick and choose which of their government duties they will perform based on their religious beliefs — in other words, that public officials can use religion to discriminate against certain citizens.
Nothing could be more un-American. What he is advocating would destroy the rule of law, a foundation of our republic. And imagine the chaos, given the wide range of religious beliefs.
So, there we have it: on August 27th, the editors said that government officials cannot and should not pick and choose what laws they will obey.
And so we come to yesterday’s editorial, in which they wrote:
Thursday, the same-sex marriage circus will continue as Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis and her deputies appear before U.S. District Judge David Bunning, accompanied by an entourage of lawyers, reporters and photographers, supporters and opponents of both sides, cell-phone videos running as they wave signs and shout encouragement and derision.
We will not question Davis’ sincerity, although we disagree with her interpretation of just what authority she was elected to enforce.
But there can’t be any question that political operatives have been eager to bend this issue to their objectives, godly or not.
Some of Davis’ supporters held signs Tuesday declaring that if Gov. Steve Beshear doesn’t intervene on Davis’ behalf, they will withhold votes from his son, Andy, who is running for attorney general. The younger Beshear’s opponent, Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, appeared at a Frankfort rally supporting Davis.
So did Republican gubernatorial nominee Matt Bevin who railed against his opponent, current Attorney General Jack Conway, for saving taxpayers both money and humilitation by declining to appeal a U.S. District Court ruling against Kentucky’s anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment.
That amendment itself, passed in 2004, was clearly a wedge issue used to mobilize conservative voters for Republican candidates that year.
In other words, the editors of what my best friend Ken calls the Herald-Liberal approved Kentucky state Attorney General Jack Conway declining to do his duty, which included defending the Commonwealth’s state constitution in federal court, because he supported same-sex “marriage.” It seems as though the editors are less concerned with officials doing their duty than which duties they are supposed to perform.
I chose the Herald-Leader‘s comments because it is the closest major news source to Morehead, Kentucky, where the County Clerk’s office is located,1 but the editors are hardly the only examples of this hypocrisy on the left. The good people at the Delaware Liberal want to use physical force to remove Kim Davis from her position, yet the same website, and same writer, supports President Obama’s choosing which laws he wants to enforce concerning immigration.
Well, let’s go out west, where the San Francisco Chronicle editorialized that “when Davis is serving in an official government capacity, she needs to follow the law, even when she disagrees with it,” and that the state legislature should impeach her if she continues to refuse to issue marriage licenses. But, just a few weeks ago, the very same editors held, after the murder of Kathryn Steinle by an illegal immigrant whom ICE wanted deported but whom the sheriff simply released, that some “sensible steps (should be taken) to help ensure that San Francisco’s sanctuary city policies do not inadvertently become shields for criminals who should be deported,” never saying that the City by the Bay should obey federal law, period, and end its “sanctuary city” policies.
Let’s face it: if it weren’t for double standards, the left would have no standards at all.
As for The First Street Journal, we very regrettably agree that Mrs Davis must either find a way to square issuing marriage licenses to homosexual couples with her conscience,2 or resign. It’s unlikely that she will find another $80,000 a year job in Morehead; the median family income in Rowan County was $33,081 according to the 2010 census, and she may have to choose between feeding her family today or obeying her conscience, and that’s a tough choice. We applaud her courage and her toughness, but she cannot choose to both be a functionary of the government and refuse to perform a duty that the government specifies she do.
- Between the seventh and eleventh grades, I delivered the Lexington Herald morning newspaper, and Lexington Leader afternoon newspaper in Mt Sterling, Kentucky. In 1983, the two papers merged to form the Herald-Leader. The Herald-Leader has a great sports section as far as University of Kentucky basketball is concerned, but, other than that, it’s a fairly mediocre middle market sized newspaper. ↩
- The Editor agrees with Mrs Davis’ position; it does not matter what other people might like or say, the relationship between two men or two women is not a marriage, no matter what the law or a piece of paper may say. ↩