Sometimes you just wonder about people.
As has made the rounds with its video, a county clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, refused to give a marriage license to a male couple, despite it being legal and it being her job. But it's her explanation that just has my head rolling.
“You can go to any other county and get your marriage license, we’re just not doing it at this time,” Kim Davis explained to the couple waiting to get their license. It was her profound Christian beliefs, she said. “It’s a deep-rooted conviction; my conscience won’t allow me to do that, It goes against everything I hold dear, everything sacred in my life."
Now, in fairness, it can't be everything Ms. Davis holds dear, since it doesn't seem likely that she actually takes the Bible all that seriously. After all, I'm just going to guess (based on nothing other than an assumption of most of humanity) that she doesn't believe in shunning people who've gotten divorced, even though divorce is something the Bible says is wrong. This includes shunning herself, since it appears that Ms. Davis has herself been divorced three times. And I'm sure she's decided that it's wrong to stone a woman to death for being promiscuous in her father's house, and wrong to stone to death children who disobey their parents. (At least I assume she doesn't believe in following the Bible's teaching on that. But who knows? She says she has deep-rooted conviction.)
On the likelihood though that she is against stoning women and children to death, then her deep-rooted conviction is somewhat disingenuous ("somewhat" being the polite term), and she's just picking and choosing what she doesn't like. Which is different than following your conscience on religious grounds.
More to the point, rather than telling legal citizens that if they want to exercise their legal right to do something they should go to another town, it seems more likely that she's the one who should take action and leave. If she doesn't want to do her job, after all, she shouldn't -- and I'd wish her much luck in her job search. She has a God-given right to her faith, of course. She just doesn't have a God-given right to be a county clerk. And if the job is to give out marriage licenses, you either do the job or leave. Or ask your assistant to do it.
In fairness, the woman has said that she will no longer give out any marriage licenses, period, to anyone. So, I applaud her at least for refusing to do her job on an equal basis. But it is, after all, her job to give out marriage licenses, and if she's not doing that, I think it's the right of her boss -- the Commonwealth of Kentucky -- to wish her well, too, on her job search.
(BobNote: There is some confusion regarding this photo of Ms. Davis taken at the time in question. Some insist it is merely the prankster-clerk doing her spot-on impression of Diana Ross breaking into the song, "Stop, in the Name of Love.")
Hiding one's prejudice behind the supposed-protection of religion probably isn't something God cares all that much for. I don't know for certain, not having asked directly. But since it goes against the point of religion I'm just going to go with that guess. (Additional supporting evidence is that "Thou shalt not do your job in the Lord's name" is not, in fact, one of the Ten Commandments.)
On the other hand, given that it's the law to give out marriage licenses, and if a county clerk refuses to do that part of the job it might be a civil rights violation and therefore illegal, perhaps when she said she has a deep-rooted conviction she was merely looking ahead, anticipating her arrest, and talking about a completely different kind of conviction.
You know what they say, after all -- the Law works in mysterious ways.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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