Rise Up, O County Clerks!

By Jesse Johnson - Posted at The Cripplegate:

"Let me explain why I think Davis is in the right to refuse: As a Christian, she believes SSM to be sinful, and she does not want to support something that is sinful. And in this case, it is not tacit support but she is being asked to literally sign off on the license. She, as the clerk, must sing the certificate saying, 'Yep, this is a legit wedding, and I approve.'"

Flashback: the year is 2004, and same sex marriage is illegal in California (by a law approved by voters in 2000 and affirmed by the State Legislature—this was the “everything but marriage” approach to the SSM issue, allowing same-sex couples the same legal rights as married couples, just without the word “marriage”). San Francisco mayor, Gavin Newsom, ordered the county clerk to illegally start issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. The California Supreme Court stepped in, ordering the process stopped. Eventually the Federal Courts stepped in and ordered the process started again, under the ridiculous legal reasoning that since that county clerk had allowed licenses to begin with, there was no rational reason to stop the process.


Present Day: Unlike California, Rowan County, Kentucky elects their county clerks. Before running for clerk herself, Kim Davis (a democrat) had worked in the clerk’s office for twenty-six years. In fact, her mother was clerk before her, and she had been the clerk for 40 years.

But forty years ago, the implementation of gay-marriage was not an issue. In fact, even recently he issue was not even likely in Kentucky where there were all kinds of laws against recognizing SSM. There were prohibitions passed by the legislature, by ballot, and finally even a state constitutional amendment. Actually, Kentucky is one of the few states whose laws actually survived Federal Court Challenges, eventually upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals two days after Davis was elected county clerk.


Eight months later, the US Supreme Court ruled that every state needed to recognize same sex marriage, and that they needed to do so immediately. Some governors paused, saying they needed more time before deciding if the decision mandated their compliance. Eventually even those governors just punted on the decision, and are allowing each county clerk to figure out what to do. Their lack of leadership has made this an issue to be settled by every county clerk.


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