Ky. clerk won’t issue same-sex marriage licenses

If you’re going to object to issuing same-sex marriage licenses on religious grounds, you probably shouldn’t be the elected official whose job it is to issue marriage licenses. That’s all I can say to a clerk in Kentucky who refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

(Sept 2) — Protestors in support of same sex marriage hold signs in front of the Rowan County Courthouse. Citing a religious objection, Kim Davis, the Rowan County Clerk of Courts, who is an Apostolic Christian, has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of a Supreme Court ruling. (Ty Wright / Getty Images)

Kim Davis, clerk at the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., has said signing her name to a same-sex marriage license would violate her Christian beliefs. “To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience,” the New York Times quoted her as saying. “I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God’s word.”

What’s God got to do with it? This is a simple matter of a government employee refusing to do the job people elected her to do—and breaking the law—although several people are supportive of her strong stand against gay marriage.

Take a look at the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The overall meaning is that the government is specifically prohibited from establishing a state religion. People can believe whatever they want, and the government can’t tell them not to. As an elected official, Ms Davis is part of the government, the very entity the First Amendment is supposed to protect us from. Yet here she is telling people how to establish a set of religious beliefs.

It’s astonishing that it has gone this far. The case is cut and dry to me, but what do you think? I work for the state of Maryland and I don’t think standardized tests are a good idea. But my personal beliefs don’t give me the right not to do my job. Well, I have the “right” not to do my job, but I’ll get fired. Ms Davis needs to be removed from office or step down if her job duties conflict so strongly with her religious beliefs that she can’t perform them.

As a religious person myself, I think this kind of grandstanding makes a mockery of the Christian faith. I’m embarrassed to call myself a Christian when we have fools like Ms Davis polluting the Word of God found in the Gospels with some half-baked idea of what Jesus would think of same-sex marriage (he never expressed an opinion about it, just so you know). To assume you know what he would think or say about it is presumptuousness to the point of blasphemy, I believe, but it is, at the very least, a disqualifying soundbite for a job as a government employee.

About the Author

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.