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Monday, September 14, 2015

Despite Denials, Kim Davis Seeks Spotlight -- Why She Should Issue Same-Sex Licenses

The defiant Rowan County, Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis, who just served a stint in jail for five days after defying a federal judge for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, is back at work and reading from a handwritten statement ...

"I don't want to have this conflict. I don't want to be in the spotlight. And I certainly don't want to be a whipping post. I am no hero. I'm just a person that's been transformed by the grace of God, who wants to work and be with my family. I just want to serve my neighbors quietly without violating my conscience."

(Associated Press. "Kentucky clerk won't interfere with gay marriage licenses." September 14, 2015.) 

Even though I respect Davis's right to her religious beliefs, I find it very difficult to believe anything positive can come from her continued resistance to simply doing her job and authorizing same-sex licenses.

Why Kim Davis Should Issue Same-Sex Licenses

1. I believe Davis is lying.

I believe she does want to have this conflict and be in the spotlight. It benefits her cause as she gains the support of protesters, presidential candidates and news crews from across the county. For her to say that she, personally, wants "to avoid conflict" nullifies other less-offensive remedies to her desire to "serve her neighbors quietly without violating her conscience."

2. Davis makes $80,000 a year for performing the required duties of her elected position. I believe she is obligated to do her job.

It is very common for the requirements of work in any job to change during the course of employment. For example, imagine being a high school health teacher for the last 30 years in the public school system and understanding the necessity of adjusting your lesson plans concerning proper instruction of a sex-education unit. Society changes, research continues, and institutions adopt changes -- then job descriptions require employees to adapt. Stagnant resistance to change is reason for termination. In Davis's case, her elected position requires a recall to force her from service.

3. I believe Davis is still pushing to negate all same-sex marriage licenses for the sake of her particular religious views. To me, this overbearing insistence is directly opposed to her personal stand. She has no right to exert her control upon the county office, nor does she have the right to stop all other certified county officials from issuing same-sex licenses as directed by the Supreme Court.

In her absence, her deputies issued at least seven licenses to gay couples and altered the forms to exclude Davis' name. The deputy clerk who issued the licenses, Brian Mason, said Monday that will continue to hand out the licenses despite his boss's objections.

Davis claims she will not interfere with her deputies if the county keeps issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but she declared they will not be authorized by her and questioned their validity.

Davis' attorneys filed an appeal seeking another delay in issuing licenses.

In their motion to the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, her attorneys argued that all the same-sex couples who sued Davis for a license received one from her deputies while she was in jail. Therefore, they said, her office should not be required to issue them to any more couples once she returns to work.

4. And still, Davis returns to work and defies the highest court in the land. She remains in contempt.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning wrote that his mandate to issue licenses applied to all couples, not only those who filed suit. But, Davis' lawyers allege that order was issued improperly, and again have asked for a delay.

It is evident Davis is interfering with justice by her continued resistance while at the job. She has become a disruptive influence who claims state law and its relevance to her position upon being elected take precedence over the recent rulings by the Supreme Court. I believe the truth of the matter is that the Court rightly upheld same-sex couples' civil rights to marriage. And, resistance to changing the laws of Kentucky to allow same-sex unions is purely political.

5. How does the governmental body issuing a marriage license determine sexual identity when a common I.D. such as a driver's license is all that is required?

There is now a greater understanding of the breadth of variation outside the typical categories of "man" and "woman", and many self-descriptions are now entering the literature, including pangender, polygender, genderqueer and agender. Medically and socially, the term "transsexualism" is being replaced with gender identity or gender dysphoria, and terms such as transgender people, trans men and trans women are replacing the category of transsexual people.

Are agencies peeking into underwear to determine just who is male, who is female, and who is transsexual? I find it impossible to accurately verify traditional sexual roles on sight. And, a birth certificate is a very private document -- one not required for marriage in Kentucky.

I think subjective judgments about sexual identity must be avoided by enforcing the Supreme Court ruling for same-sex marriage as a decent and necessary right under privacy issues. Public servants must obey the rulings of the highest court about issues not directly governed by the Constitution. Court rulings are often necessary to insure equality and justice are maintained in places and in circumstances that stubbornly threaten given rights.

Constitution And Christianity

If you believe Christianity is Constitutionally rooted in governmental affairs, consider this: Religion makes only one direct and obvious appearance in the original Constitution that seems to point to a desire for some degree of religious freedom. That appearance is in Article 6, at the end of the third clause:

"[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

That simple, straight-forward statement applies to all offices in the entire United States, both state and federal. The clause simply means that no public position can be required to be held by any one of any religious denomination. And, that would include Kim Davis's Apostolic Christian sect. Neither can she require others at her position to abide by her views, nor can she "hold" her job simple because of her perceived Christian beliefs.

It would be unconstitutional for there to be a requirement that the President be Lutheran, or even for the mayor of a small town to be Christian. Likewise, it would be unconstitutional for a law to forbid a Jew or Muslim from holding any office in any governmental jurisdiction in the United States.

It should be noted that without exception, the Framers were Christian or, at the very least, deists. But, the truth is that the Christian religion is inherently assumed and implicitly present in the Constitution. Oaths to Christianity are not stated. Why? Disagreements about style and method of worship between them were nearly as vast and incongruous as any seen today between, say, Jews and Muslims, such that the Framers wanted to ensure that no one sect could ever seize control of a government and start a theocracy.

President James Madison, when speaking of the method and manner of the election of the members of the Congress, noted that even "Religion itself may become a motive to persecution and oppression," telegraphing his own desire for no religious test for government service.
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