The preamble of the US Constitution reads as follows:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

In short, the purpose of the United States government, as outlined by the preamble, is to serve its people, and by that I would expect said service to cover all US citizens.

One of those services is the management and dispensing of legal rights associated with marriage.  Marriage over the years has evolved into considerably more than the joining of two people in a socially recognized relationship.  Multiple rights, recognized at the local, state and federal level, attach automatically, including tax-free transfer of property, joint tax filing, next-of-kin status in the event of a medical emergency and multiple others.  These rights have considerable value, which is likely a considerable part of the reason why those who have been excluded from access to marriage, gays and Lesbians most recently, have worked so hard to persuade the federal government to their point of view.  Those efforts came to fruition when Obergefell v. Hodges came before the US Supreme Court, which ruled that same-sex marriage bans in those states which have enacted such laws are unconstitutional.  In effect, that decision erased any distinction between same-sex marriage and opposite-sex marriage from the point of view of the government.  There is just marriage.

Enter Kim Davis, a county clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky.  She is an Apostolic Christian who sees marriage in the purely parochial view of her church, being between one man and one woman.  Certainly she is to be allowed this viewpoint without question.  However, as a representative of Rowan County, Kentucky and by extension, the United States, she is obliged by law to perform her duties as county clerk in accordance with those laws which pertain to her position.  I would rather suspect that she swore an oath to that effect upon assuming her office, an oath one would hope she would take seriously.

Yet it probably comes as no surprise to any atheist that Ms. Davis was willing to exercise her own moral code when she was confronted with her first gay couple, applying for a marriage license, a few weeks back.  As with many believers of her ilk, she may hold that God’s Law holds sway over human pronouncements or that the US is a Christian nation and she therefore has the right to exercise her Christian beliefs as a right of her office.  In both cases, of course, she is mistaken.  Neither is her god a recognized authority by our government, nor is the United States a Christian nation, a fact affirmed by Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli.  U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning stated clearly in citing her for contempt that: “Her good-faith belief is simply not a viable defense,” adding that “Oaths mean things.”

So now she sits in a Rowan County jail cell until such time as she either relents in her obstinacy or is removed as a county clerk, with the latter being far more probable than the former.  Right now her subordinates are issuing marriage licenses for couples both gay and straight.  Any objections she may have to those actions are moot and ineffectual at this point; her office will function without her presence.  Much as Ms. Davis wanted to serve her god, her job required her to serve people.  She herself said: “God's moral law convicts me and conflicts with my duties.”  That being the case, she should be relieved of her duties – forthwith – and her position given to someone who is willing respect and honor the law of the land and provide services to those to whom the Constitution has guaranteed such service.

To Ms. Davis I would simply say this: “Your attitude does not befit your position – get out.”

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Comment by Grinning Cat on September 5, 2015 at 11:01am

... surprise surprise, Ms. Davis is a registered Democrat.

She is a DINO in more ways than one.

Comment by The Flying Atheist on September 5, 2015 at 10:20am

I couldn't resist.....

Comment by Randall Smith on September 5, 2015 at 10:00am

Not that it matters, nor is it always the case, but, surprise surprise, Ms. Davis is a registered Democrat. Ah, Kentucky.

Comment by The Flying Atheist on September 5, 2015 at 9:40am

The Religious "Right" is the only group supporting Kim Davis.  Non-fundamental and casual christians, who happen to make up the majority of the religious in this country, don't support Ms. Davis and want her to do her civil job.  As a result, I think (I hope) this has been a big wake-up call to the large, general population of religious folk who have been complacent in understanding the gravity of "Right to Religious Freedom" laws that are currently being introduced in several state legislatures.  I think they may begin to see now that these "rights" are nothing more than a sanctioned license to discriminate and not some innocuous confirmation of the freedom of religion. 

Comment by Loren Miller on September 5, 2015 at 9:00am

Equal treatment under the law is the whole point of Obergefell v. Hodges and this post.  It's not just a "nice gesture;" it's a necessary action if the ideals couched in the Preamble are to be fully realized.  And while I'm at it, yes, issuing marriage licenses without bias, being part of that equal treatment, becomes part of that requirement.  Davis is REQUIRED to issue those licenses, as a part of the oath she took when she became a county clerk.  When she refused to serve same-sex couples, she was in violation of that oath, and thus we have the current situation.

As for Davis being some latter-day Rosa Parks, from the fundamentalist christian point of view, perhaps she is.  I can't help but note a fair number of the current GOP presidential candidates offering her their verbal support, if nothing else, but that remains a minority opinion  From most everyone else's, she's a bigot who wants to perpetuate and justify her bigotry with her holy book.  Right now, that doesn't sell, nor is it likely too any time in the future.  I don't see that she compares with Snowden or Manning or Ellsberg.  She's not trying to correct a great wrong; she's trying to return us to the practice of a great wrong.  It would be one thing if homosexuality and same-sex marriage did demonstrable harm to society; it doesn't.  Far more harm is done in the name of mindless, unjustified dogma, which is her religion's stock in trade.

The US is slowly but surely getting out from under such dogma.  That it has been accepted without thought for so long makes that process difficult, and I shouldn't be surprised that more such incidents as that of Kim Davis will be found in our future.  That's no reason to quit ... or to cut people such as her any slack.

Comment by jay H on September 5, 2015 at 8:26am

Michael Pianko makes a valid point below. Equal treatment under the law is a constitutional requirement, issuing marriage licenses is not. Not to mention that the current ruling is extremely arbitrary in that it requires exactly two people be involved.

As for analyzing Kim Davis, it is necessary to try to view it from different viewpoints (even those you may disagree with)

Even though Davis will most certainly lose most or all of her appeals, she sees herself (as do her supporters) as a kind of modern day Rosa Parks... someone who is willing to risk everything when they see the government as wrong. Over the years various people have put themselves in legal trouble defying the government for something they feel is a matter of principle (for example the group of nuns and others who trespassed on a nuclear weapons facility, or the reporter working on a crime story imprisoned because he would not reveal his sources to the prosecutor on the case, or Snowdon, Manning and others like them). In each case, there are people who see them as brave fighters against the corruption of the state, others see them as misguided or even evil. On each of those specific cases and others, different people here might fall on different sides of the hero/villian dichotomy.

Comment by Loren Miller on September 5, 2015 at 6:28am

HUSH, Gerald!  Yer not supposed to ask questions like that!!!

Comment by Gerald Payne on September 5, 2015 at 4:10am

How can these religions teachings claim to bring peace and harmony when they clash head-on with civil society?

Comment by Michael Pianko on September 5, 2015 at 12:00am
Suppose all taxes were eliminated and charity and everything and everything that can be provided by private organizations was provided by private organizations, which would have to earn their own money. Yes marriage for homosexuals makes sense as a nice gesture to show that the government is not prejudiced against homosexuals anymore. But suppose marriage doesn't need to exist in general for anybody. Marriage was invented by religion so that people would have to get permission from the religion before engaging in man- woman relationships, because religions want to increase the chances your kids will do your religion. Suppose that there was no such thing as marriage and no such thing as governments issuing marriage licenses, and people could just engage in man-man or man-woman or woman-woman relationships without having to get permission from the government. If there wasn't prejudice against homosexuals, people would just be able to designate anybody as next of kin without having to get special permission from the government.
Comment by Loren Miller on September 4, 2015 at 10:18pm

You make a good point, Carl ... one I doubt any Republican would dare repeat.  More's the pity.



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