Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis continues to defy federal court orders to issue marriage licenses to two gay and two straight couples. Their attorney, Joe Dunman, joins us on today's BradCast for a fascinating discussion of the case, how we got here, and where it all goes from here.
"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 elected County Clerk said in a statement today following the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal yesterday to hear Davis' application for an "asylum of conscience" and her own refusal, once again today, to issue licenses.
"It is a Heaven or Hell decision," she adds. Guess which one she's choosing?
Dunman, who also represented the Kentucky couples in SCOTUS' landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case that declared marriage equality a fundamental right in all 50 states, tells me that Davis is not required to actually perform any marriages. "She's not obligated to solemnize a marriage at all. The only thing she has to do is stamp her name on the documents that are filed with the state."
"In her arguments so far, she claims that [by] putting her name on it, she is 'authorizing and blessing' those marriages." But the U.S. District Court Judge (as well as the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and now the U.S. Supreme Court) "disagreed, and said 'look, you're just certifying that they meet the legal standards, that they're eligible for marriage licenses --- that's all you're doing. You're not blessing anything. For that reason she doesn't have a religious objection. Not to mention that there's no case law to support the idea that public officials have religious rights that trump the civil rights of other people."
"Extending her logic outward, there's really no end to what a public official could do. All they'd have to claim that they sincerely believe something, and they just do it," Dunman explains. "I want people to imagine a Muslim clerk in Kentucky denying licenses to Christian couples as they walk in the door, and whether or not people would be standing up for 'religious freedom.'"
The attorney also notes that Kentucky's Republican Gubernatorial candidate, Matt Bevin, "has come out strongly in her support" for Davis, who is actually a Democrat, "going so far as to say 'Clerks Lives Matter' during a rally in her favor."
Also on today's BradCast: Reverberations following yesterday's interview with Beth Clarkson, the Kansas statistician who believes she's found evidence of "voting machine manipulation", but is being blocked by KS Sec. of State Kris Kobach from examining the e-voting system's paper audit logs from the 2014 election.
Plus: A crazy case of "voter suppression" --- of a very bizarre sort --- in Columbia, Missouri; Alabama's plans to shut down 45 of its 49 driver's license offices (despite the state's strict Photo ID voting restriction law); and Obama makes an impassioned plea for action on climate change up in the Arctic...
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READER COMMENTS ON "The Case Against the KY County Clerk Defying SCOTUS, Refusing to Issue Marriage Licenses: 'BradCast' 9/1/2015" (7 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink] ...
said on 9/2/2015 @ 8:33 am PT...
In 1960, the Democratic candidate for the Presidency gave a speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association:
"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute--where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishoners for whom to vote--where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference--and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.
"I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish--where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source--where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials--and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.
"For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew--or a Quaker--or a Unitarian--or a Baptist. It was Virginia's harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that helped lead to Jefferson's statute of religious freedom. Today I may be the victim--but tomorrow it may be you--until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril.
"Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end...."
Meanwhile, back to the future,"...Kentucky's Republican Gubernatorial candidate, Matt Bevin, 'has come out strongly in her support' for Davis, who is actually a Democrat, 'going so far as to say 'Clerks Lives Matter' during a rally in her favor.'"
The procedure as I understand it (and, as we discussed briefly during the interview) requires impeachment by the state legislature. As far as I understand, that's it. And, short of calling a special session, the legislature is not back in session until after the start of the new year.
Of course, if she's in jail and unable to serve, therefore....dunno what happens. Dunman seemed to suggest we are in very uncharted territory all around here at this point.
COMMENT #4 [Permalink] ...
said on 9/3/2015 @ 6:41 am PT...
"The marriages are documented in court records obtained by U.S. News, which show that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis divorced three times, first in 1994, then 2006 and again in 2008. She gave birth to twins five months after divorcing her first husband. They were fathered by her third husband but adopted by her second. Davis worked at the clerk’s office at the time of each divorce and has since remarried..."
"...Joe Davis says his wife, the Kentucky county clerk who Tuesday again turned away gay couples despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, is committed to her Christian faith and is “standing for God.” Davis says the couple have changed their phone number after receiving death threats. But when asked if he was afraid, Davis said he has faith… in the Second Amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing the right to bear arms. “I’m an old redneck hillbilly, that’s all I’ve got to say,” Davis told the Associated Press. “Don’t come knocking on my door.” Davis compared his wife to the biblical figures Paul and Silas, sent to prison and rescued by God. Pointing to the marriage equality protesters gathered on one side of the courthouse lawn, Davis told the AP: “They want us to accept their beliefs and their ways. But they won’t accept our beliefs and our ways.”
Divorced 3 times; Adultress; 4th husband will shoot you if you knock on his door.
Thanks for the clarification, Brad. Meanwhile KY Gov. Steve Beshear (D) revealed that there are two other KY county clerks who are apparently refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples:
Regardless of whatever their personal feelings might be, 117 of our 120 county clerks are following the law and carrying out their duty to issue marriage licenses regardless of gender. Same-sex couples are now being married in Kentucky and such marriages from other states are now being recognized under Kentucky law.
The future of the Rowan County Clerk is now in the hands of the courts. The legislature has placed the authority to issue marriage licenses squarely on county clerks by statute, and I have no legal authority to relieve her of her statutory duty by executive order or to remove her from office.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink] ...
said on 9/8/2015 @ 11:43 pm PT...
The irony is that the Hard-Left fights to take away Gun Rights guaranteed in the Second Amendment. You know... "Shall Not Be Infringed" Every-time there's a shooting. Boo hoo! We need "stricter gun laws"! Orwellian Newspeak for lets Grab guns to oppress the masses! All for the political Elite! Meanwhile there is no Amendment on the Books for Same-Sex Marriage! Just a Supreme Court making laws and calling it unconstitutional. What happens when they decide to take away Gun Rights? You see, they see something written in the Constitution that isn't there! If they can "Do That" they can also take away you're right to protect yourself! This includes Homosexuals too! There is no National Religion, as far as Separation of Church and State goes. Kim Davis didn't do anything in regards to creating a State Based Religion. But she did follow the US Constitution something the Supreme Court did not! The Hard-Left want people to have NO GUNS or use Muskets and to define "Gun Rights" in an Old Fashioned way! Yet when it comes to Marriage between a Man and a Woman it's wrong! Back in the Eighteen Hundreds Joseph Smith creator of the Mormon Religion, was thrown in jail and kicked out of many States because of his views on Polygamy. So views about marriage haven't changed much. I've yet to see any Homosexuals publicly support Joseph Smith or the Religion he created. My guess is people "way back then" would hate Same-Sex Marriage just as much as they hate polygamy. Illegal immigration. Many on the Left play Border-Agent/Gatekeeper to those whom they disagree with. So while it's ok for Pablo to cross the border illegally. A man named Kris Kobach can't write a law against illegal immigration in Arizona. Why because he's from Kansas! Isn't that hypocritical. So a US Citizen can't write a law for another State. But it's ok to have Sanctuary Cities and people from Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala. Where is the LOGIC? I don't know? But you seem to care less about the rights of Kim Davis and her freedoms, and more about people who aren't even Citizens!
COMMENT #7 [Permalink] ...
said on 9/8/2015 @ 11:56 pm PT...
Some of the best "Border Agents" I know on the web are from Vlad, People Espanol, Huff Post etc. They love playing border agent, shutting down people they disagree with. ALL THE WHILE preaching open borders! So while they preach TOLERANCE and Free speech. You get shut down for disagreeing with their "Group Think". Many people didn't like Kim Davis playing "Border Agent" shutting down Illegal Marriage. But given the chance they'd take away her freedoms and call her a Biggot! Obama can have a fence and it's illegal to trespass on White House Property. But he ignores trespassing on US Soil when it's not where he LIVES! I'm against TRUMPs wall. Not because I'm pro-illegal immigration. But because I know the same Wall can be used to keep US Citizens in. A Berlin Wall for the SW USA. When we have a N. American Union, it will still be tough for citizens to escape the USA. Illegals can go to the USA, and CA. But US Citizens will sill be sent to jail for crossing the Mex border illegally....