Staff editorial: Kentucky clerk refuses to issue same-sex marriage licenses

Duke Staff

Kentucky clerk Kim Davis continued to refuse marriage licenses on Tuesday and Wednesday for same-sex couples, even after the Supreme Court denied her request to delay the implementation of the Obergefell vs. Hodges ruling based on religious beliefs.

The Supreme Court decided in June with the Obergefell vs. Hodges case that same-sex marriage would now be legal in all states.

In a country where progress for LGBT acceptance is everywhere to be seen, said progress only makes it more glaringly abhorrent when someone decides to dig in their heels – in temper tantrum fashion – to slow the change of society.

Everyone in this country – not just a select few who feel the good of an entire nation is more important than their own personal agenda – is held under the Constitution. Everyone must obey the laws set out before them. Through her refusal, Davis is basically trying to appeal the Supreme Court’s decision in the Obergefell vs. Hodges case to a higher federal power, which is impossible.

The Supreme Court’s denial of Davis’ delay plea is one of the first tests against the decision since it was made in June. The fact that the Supreme Court did confirm that government officials cannot deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples on religious grounds sparks First Amendment controversy in the present, but also shows promise for the future.

CNN reports that her colleague of no relation, Casey Davis, who also refused marriage licenses, is currently riding his bicycle from Kentucky to the West Coast in protest of what he calls an “assault on religious liberty.”

Meanwhile, couples were forced to put their lives on hold because the clerks refused to do their jobs, which are paid for by citizens’ tax dollars.

As put best by David Moore, who was denied a marriage license alongside his partner David Ermold, “I pay your salary. I pay you to discriminate against me right now, that’s what I’m paying for.”

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a motion in federal court Tuesday to hold Davis, who also said she was exercising her First Amendment right to religious freedom, in contempt of court for refusing to comply with the decision. While the ACLU is not trying to incarcerate Davis, they are urging the court to inflict heavy fines in order to secure her immediate compliance with the ruling. Davis also faces official charges of misconduct.

For someone refusing to do the job that the state of Kentucky pays them to do, placing personal self-righteousness above the happiness of others and blatantly disregarding a ruling by the Supreme Court, a lighter pocketbook will be the least of Davis’ worries.