(Author’s note: This article was written prior to Thursday, September 3rd, but wasn’t published until Sunday, September 6th. At the end of the article, you will find an update as to what transpired in U.S. District Court on Sept 3rd.)
On June 26th, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which solidified that both the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees gay Americans the right to be married. With this ruling, all gay marriage bans were nullified and gay Americans had finally achieved marriage equality in all 50 states, without exception.
Unfortunately, some people continue to believe that somehow their personal bigotry makes them above the law. Enter Kim Davis.
Kim Davis is the county clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky. Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling, Ms. Davis outright refused to comply with the ruling. She insisted that her deeply held Christian beliefs prevented her from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. So, rather than doing her job, following the law, and issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, she decided to stop issuing marriage licenses to everyone, gay or straight. This, of course, made it impossible for the residents of Rowan County to obtain a marriage license in their county. Even after Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear ordered every county clerk in the state to start issuing marriage licenses in accordance with the SCOTUS ruling, Kim Davis refused.
On behalf of four couples in Rowan County (three gay, three straight), the ACLU filed a lawsuit against her with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, asking the court to order her to either fulfill her duties as county clerk or to resign. Earlier this month, U.S District Court Judge David Bunning agreed. In his ruling he stated, “The state is not asking her to condone same-sex unions on moral or religious grounds, nor is it restricting her from engaging in a variety of religious activities,” the judge wrote. “She is even free to believe that marriage is a union between one man and one woman, as many Americans do. However, her religious convictions cannot excuse her from performing the duties that she took an oath to perform as Rowan County clerk.” He ordered Kim Davis to start issuing marriage licenses, but she refused and appealed his decision to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Sixth Circuit Court upheld Judge Bunning’s decision saying, “It cannot be defensibly argued that the holder of the Rowan County Clerk’s office, apart from who personally occupies that office, may decline to act in conformity with the United States Constitution as interpreted by a dispositive holding of the United States Supreme Court.” Still, Kim Davis continued her refusal to comply and then filed an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking them to stay the ruling.
On Monday, August 31, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Kim Davis’ appeal, which means that Judge Bunning’s original order is not only upheld, but ends Kim Davis’ legal options. On Tuesday, September 1st, Kim Davis decided to continue defiance of the courts and, once again, refused to issue marriage licenses to couples requesting them.
Kim Davis has asserted that she is defying the law and the court orders “under God’s authority.” She insists that her refusal to issue marriage licenses to gays is a deeply held Christian belief, and she points to the Bible, which she describes as “God’s holy word” as both the source and the justification for this belief.
And yet, this has not stopped Davis from violating these “deeply held” beliefs in the past.
According to reporting by U.S. News, Davis is currently in her fourth marriage. That’s right. She has been divorced not once, not twice, but three times. Interesting that someone who professes such a strong conviction in the teachings of Christianity that she cannot disobey them seemingly took no issue with disobeying them when it suited her.
“Because of this, a man should leave his father and mother and be joined together with his wife, and the two will be one flesh. So, they are no longer two but one. Therefore, humans must not pull apart what God has put together.”
Mark 10:7-9 Matthew 19:5-7
“A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives.”
1 Corinthians 7:39
“A married woman is united with her husband under the Law while he is alive. But if her husband dies, she is released from the Law concerning her husband. So then, if she lives with another man while her husband is alive, she’s committing adultery. But if her husband dies, she’s free from the Law, so she won’t be committing adultery if she marries someone else.”
These are just a few of the numerous passages throughout the Bible that condemns divorce.
But it doesn’t stop there.
That same U.S. News article also says that Davis gave birth to set of twins who were fathered be the man who would eventually become her third husband, only 5 months after she divorced her first husband. This means that she was not only cheating on her first husband while they were married, but had gotten pregnant as a result. That is what is known as adultery, which is frowned upon according to the Bible:
“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
In fact, adultery is such a big no-no, that it is even included on the top 10 worst things you can possibly do – the 10 Commandments!!!
Thou shalt not commit adultery
Naturally, her multiple divorces and her confirmed adulterous behavior have raised the inevitable questions about hypocrisy. Ms. Davis has, so far, lacked the courage to answer those questions, but one of her attorneys, Mat Stiver, has said that, “it’s not really relevant, it’s something that happened in her past”.
It is relevant when a person insists that their beliefs should make them exempt from the law, but has previously conducted themselves in such a way that makes it highly suspect that those beliefs are as deeply held as they wish to claim. So, how can someone justify applying what the Bible says to others, when that someone has a track record of ignoring what the Bible says when it inconveniences their own lives?
Simple. Nothing Kim Davis did in the past counts because she was “born again” about four years ago, according to her lawyers and her supporters. Understand? She’s not a hypocrite, because Christian magic was used to make her previous three marriages and her adultery disappear. It’s as if it they never happened.
Well, I seriously doubt if that is going to have any effect on U.S District Judge Bunning, who has now ordered Kim Davis and six of her deputies in her office to appear before him on Thursday, September 3rd.
(Update: On Thursday, Sept 3rd, Kim Davis and all 6 of her deputies appeared before Judge David Bunning in U.S. District Court. She was presented with a negotiated proposal where she would could be in compliance with the court’s order by ordering her deputies to issue marriage licenses, rather than issuing them herself. She refused. As a result, she was found to be in contempt of court and ordered to be jailed until she agrees to obey the court’s order. Judge Bunning was able to obtain commitments from 5 of the 6 deputies of Davis’ office (Kim Davis’ son, Nathan Davis, was the only one who refused) that they would start issuing marriage licenses beginning Friday, September 4th, which enabled them to avoid any penalties.)