Kim Davis, the county clerk in Rowan County, KY has been making headlines all across the country due to her refusal to issue marriage licenses, which she is required to do by law, as a county clerk, in the state of Kentucky. She refuses to do in spite of the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this past June that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects the right to marry of all Americans, gay or straight – which she did not like.
She thought that her Christian beliefs grant her special rights; specifically the right to pick and choose which laws she will follow and which laws she will ignore. Basically, she thought that her ability to cherry pick the Bible extended to the rule of law, as well. She thought wrong. On Thursday, September 4th, Kim Davis was sent to jail for disobeying a court order that she carry out her duties as county clerk, which includes issuing marriage licenses, or to resign. The judge has stated that she will remain in jail for however long it takes for her to obey the court’s order.
But Kim Davis is not the only county clerk in Kentucky who has decided not to fulfill their duties as an elected, public official.
Meet Casey Davis.
Mr. Davis (no relation to Kim Davis) is the county clerk for Casey County, Kentucky. He, too, as decided to ignore the law and his duties by refusing to issue marriage licenses in his county. Casey Davis appeared on the Wednesday, September 3rd, episode of The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell to discuss his position and his support for Kim Davis.
When asked by Lawrence O’Donnell why he wasn’t issuing marriage licenses, he repeated the same argument that Kim Davis has put forth: “It’s simply a deeply held, religious belief that I have. That I don’t think I can put my name on a marriage license, a same-sex marriage license, and be able to sleep with that.” I immediately got the impression that Mr. Davis is not very big on things like critical thinking or reasoned logic.
In a shameless display of hypocrisy, Casey Davis chastised Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear for “not doing his job” because Gov. Beshear has refused to call the state legislature back for a special session to address the issue, all while Mr. Davis refuses to do his own job. But it really got interesting when Lawrence O’Donnell started to focus on what was appearing to be Mr. Davis’ view that somehow federal laws were not mandatory
“So, Mr. Davis, I just want to get this clear. You actually believe that you don’t have to treat, according to federal law, that you do not have treat all applicants for marriage licenses equally, that they all should enjoy exactly the same process on marriage licenses. You think that the Supreme Court did not say that?”, O’Donnell asked.
Casey Davis brought up abortion by stating how abortion was legal but doctors had the right to refuse to perform them. O’Donnell then explained to him that doctors are not government officials and that Mr. Davis was. He also reminded Mr. Davis that he had taken an oath to do his job and to observe the laws. Mr. Davis then proceeded to recite section 26 of the Kentucky state constitution:
To guard against transgression of the high powers which we have delegated, We Declare that every thing in this Bill of Rights is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate; and all laws contrary thereto, or contrary to this Constitution, shall be void.
He also added a small bit from section 5:
No human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.
Lawrence O’Donnell found this to be quite amusing, as did I. O’Donnell then asked him if he had read what the Constitution of the United States of America had said.
“I know what the state constitution says, and I took an oath to both of those.”, replied Mr. Davis.
Pity. If he had read it, then maybe he could have avoided making an ass of himself on national television.
Article 6, Clause 2 of the Constitution of the United States is commonly known as the “Supremacy Clause”:
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.
This means, quite simply, that if any state’s constitution or laws conflict with the Constitution of the United States, then the state loses. The same is applied with federal law vs. state law. This has been established in the United States since 1796, when the U.S. Supreme Court first struck down a state law in Ware v. Hylton. O’Donnell further tried to explain this to him, but it was abundantly clear that he wasn’t grasping it.
To end the interview, Mr. Davis decided to go to one of the more popular, and painfully idiotic, arguments that Christians will use to defend their bigotry towards homosexuals:
“This lifestyle is against the law of nature.”
Humans are certainly not alone in nature when it comes to homosexual behavior. All species of great apes – humans, chimpanzees, gorilla, and orangutans – have been observed engaging in homosexual behavior. Hell, approximately 60% of all sexual activity among bonobos occurs between two or more females. But it doesn’t just stop with the great apes.
Here is a list of mammalian species that have documented observations of homosexual behavior. Look at the size of that list. Now, take into consideration that this list is just mammals. Here’s a list of birds that engage in homosexual behavior. But it doesn’t stop there, either. Multiple species of fish, amphibians, insects, and reptiles have all been observed engaging in homosexual behavior.
So, in addition to county clerk, we can add lawyer and biologist to list of jobs that Casey Davis has no business doing. But, on the bright side, there’s probably a McDonald’s somewhere near Casey County that is hiring.