Back Talk: Clerk refusing to follow law sparks controversy over rights

Davis wrongly jailed based on religious beliefs 

by: MAKENZIE MEANS/Staff Writer

Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky, has repeatedly denied marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite the Supreme Court ruling that legalizes same-sex marriage.

For this she was held in contempt of court and jailed for five days after refusing to follow the law. Davis’ reason for not issuing a marriage license to same-sex couples comes from a religious conviction. Davis repeatedly stated that issuing the marriage license was against her religion’s traditional marriage values. Traditional marriage, according to Davis and the Bible, is between one man and one woman.

I believe that Davis was wrongfully jailed and denied her religious freedom. Yes, she broke the law and refused to issue marriage licenses. However, the Supreme Court passed a law that would make many people across the country have to decide between breaking the law and standing up for their religious rights.

Although there are many quick to attack Davis, they must remember that freedom of religion is part of the First Amendment. The First Amendment also grants me the freedom to write about this subject. The First Amendment gives those who disagree with Davis the freedom to speak their mind and share their opinion. The First Amendment also allows supporters and those who oppose Davis’ actions the right to assemble.

kim loves her microphone

People use the First Amendment every day, and that is exactly what Davis did. As a nation, we can’t decide which set of amendments we do and do not want to follow, nor are we allowed to decide which part of amendments we want other people to express or not express. Davis has every right to express her religious belief of traditional marriage, just as someone has the freedom to disagree with her. The judge who ordered Davis to jail infringed upon her right to voice her religious beliefs.

The Supreme Court passed a law that contradicted an amendment that was already set forth when our country was founded. The legalization of same-sex marriage is a reasonable situation and subject. However, as a country, especially one that was founded on Christian values, there needs to be an understanding of people not supporting same-sex marriage.

I am not saying that there are excuses for bullying and hating same-sex couples, but I am saying that people who do not support same-sex marriage should not be penalized or harassed. Even if it is someone’s job to issue marriage licenses, he or she should still be able to express his or her religious beliefs.

In order to prevent a situation like this again, there needs to be a revision of the marriage license process. If a county clerk wants to deny a marriage license to a same-sex couple, there should be some kind of override by a supervisor without reprimanding the county clerk who denied it. No one should be denied his or her right to express their religious beliefs, and no one should have to be denied a marriage license.

Clerk ignores Supreme Court decision for personal beliefs

by: MATT MOLINAR/Opinion Editor 

After decades of struggling for marital rights, same-sex couples in all 50 states celebrated the Supreme Court ruling in favor of equality. However, Kim Davis showed opposition to the change and refused service to same-sex couples.

On June 26, 2015, the U.S Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution guarantees same-sex marriage as a civil right. This ruling allows same-sex couples to be issued a marriage license in all 50 states. For the LGBT community, this is a victory that has been long sought after for nearly 50 years.

For people such as Kim Davis, an Apostolic Christian who works as a county clerk in Kentucky, same-sex marriage conflicts with her religious beliefs, and she decided to take action.

As you would expect, with the new ruling from the Supreme Court, county clerk offices had lines spilling out the door with same-sex couples wishing to receive their marriage licenses. In Rowan County, Kentucky, Davis decided to fight this new Supreme Court decision. Same-sex marriage conflicts with her religious faith, so she was not about to do something in the interest of a same-sex couple any time soon. In what she claims as an “impossible choice,” Davis began refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

When you look at the way more and more states were beginning to legalize same-sex marriage, it was almost obvious that the ruling would happen. If Davis didn’t like the ruling, she could have easily resigned instead of refusing to do her job.  The result of refusing to comply a with court order was that Davis was sent to jail for five days.

Kim davis smiling

When you look at Davis’ situation, you have to realize that she was elected to a government-paid position. Why would you refuse to obey the same organization that is paying your bills? You would never see a police officer refusing to help someone because of his or her sexuality. Davis’ acts are purely made out of discrimination and should not be something that is celebrated.

As an active member of the church, I do not find it believable that Davis’ decision to refuse service to same-sex couples was made purely out of conflict with her own faith. I know what the Bible says, and nowhere have I read, “County clerks are restricted from servicing same-sex couples.” I truly believe that her decision to refuse service to same-sex couples was not based off of her faith. The Christians who I have had the pleasure of meeting in my lifetime have all been very loving towards everybody, regardless of their backgrounds. Maybe Davis has some sort of hatred for homosexuals.

Because Davis was elected into her position, she cannot be fired. After her jail sentence, she began taking her name out of issued marriage licenses. She also stated in a word with the public after her release that she would no longer be issuing marriage licenses to any couple. Only her deputies would be issuing licenses.

So this leaves Kentucky couples with marriage licenses that read “Issued in the office of Rowan County” instead of using her name in the license. Her deputies began doing this after her jail sentence and have continued doing so. Having the county clerk’s name included in issued marriage licenses is a Kentucky law. Davis has asked Governor Steve Beshear to amend marriage licenses and allow her name to be left out, and for these newly-issued marriage licenses to be valid even without her name.

For Davis to be refusing services to same-sex couples after the court ruling could be considered a hate crime. Davis should be aware of what her job requires, and it is a shame that the only way she will be removed from her position is through resignation.