Kim Davis is back to work today and media, protesters and a lesbian couple have been there too.
According to the AP, a deputy clerk, Brian Mason has assumed duties of handing out the marriage licenses. A lesbian couple did pick one up this morning with the phrase “pursuant to federal court order” in the place where the clerk’s name should be. Davis and her attorneys aren’t sure they are valid.
I contacted the Kentucky County Clerks Association last week to learn the organization’s position on leaving off a clerk’s name. Contrary to some media reports, the KCCA has not taken a final position on the matter, according to Bill May, spokesman for the organization.
While Davis doesn’t intend to interfere with what Brian Mason decides to do, she will not allow her name to be placed on a license which may mean the licenses aren’t valid in KY.
According to CNN, Rowan County (KY) clerk has been released from prison with instruction from Judge David Bunning not interfere with deputies issuing same-sex marriage licenses.
The compromise appears to involve not requiring Davis’ to put her name on the license. Given the form of a KY marriage license, this should be possible. Note in the license below that the clerk’s name is typed in.
According to the CNN report (and Mat Staver on Wallbuilders Live earlier today), Davis plans to stop licenses if they have her name on them. As you can see above, this license does not have her name on it. KY law appears to require the clerk to certify the accuracy of the license so there may be another impasse.
The Supreme Court last week ruled 5-4 that the 14th Amendment required the states to recognize same-sex unions as legal marriages.
Today, the Family Research Council released the following press release:
Family Research Council Commends Texas Officials for Declining to Blindly Follow Five Justices
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a statement calling the U.S. Supreme Court ruling an act of “lawlessness” and provided guidance that “county clerks and their employees retain religious freedoms that may allow accommodation of their religious objections to issuing same-sex ‘marriage’ licenses. The strength of any such claim depends on the particular facts of each case.”
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins issued the following statement in response:
“I find it refreshing and encouraging that state officials are declining to blindly follow five justices who have redefined society’s most fundamental institution — marriage. The Court got it wrong in their ruling and they got it wrong in thinking their edict would force Americans to accept same-sex ‘marriage’ and the corresponding loss of their most basic freedoms. States must ensure the government does not use this ruling to discriminate against those who continue to believe in natural marriage,” concluded Perkins.
The effect of the AG’s opinion appears to be to allow a clerk to avoid doing their duty while referring it to someone who doesn’t mind doing it, analogous to a pharmacist who doesn’t want to fill a script for a drug that might cause an abortion.
Paxton says the Supreme Court ruling was lawless, then he tells the clerks they may not have to comply.
I wonder if the Texas clerks who are fundamentalist Christians explore the sexual morality of the straight couples who request a license before issuing it. If licenses are issued to those who meet the various clerks’ standards, then I suppose Texas could have a hodgepodge of standards which vary from clerk to clerk. Surely, if the clerks’ religious beliefs about same-sex marriage can be honored then a clerk who believes people of different religions shouldn’t marry could decline to issue a license.
There is a word for when government officials decide to do what they want to do instead of what the law requires.
A.G. Paxton, what is that word?
In the most anticipated decision of the term, the Supreme Court this morning ruled that
The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.
The decision is here.
Reaction was swift.
Russell Moore representing the Southern Baptists: Don’t panic, articulate a counter-cultural view of marriage. Watch:
GOP presidential candidate Scott Walker: “I believe this Supreme Court decision is a grave mistake. Five unelected judges have taken it upon themselves to redefine the institution of marriage, an institution that the author of this decision acknowledges ‘has been with us for millennia.’”
Mark Woods writing for UK’s Christian Today asks readers not to worry. He writes:
So here’s a discussion starter.
It is entirely up to the state to declare what relationships it will recognise as marriage, and the Church should not have a problem with that.
It is entirely up to the Church to declare what relationships it will recognise as Christian marriage, and the State should not have a problem with that.
The state should jealously guard its prerogative from the Church, and ensure that it provides equality under the law for all its citizens.
The Church should jealousy guard its prerogative from the state, and ensure that it is never coerced into bringing its beliefs and practices into line with those of the majority if it doesn’t want to.
Evangelicals (and others) have got themselves into a knot because they think the state is trying to define Christian marriage. It isn’t; it can’t, and it never could. But the long history of Christendom has allowed Christians to think that the two are the same. Most Americans have always been keen on the separation of Church and state; well, now’s the chance to find out whether you mean it.
My reaction is more along the lines of Mark Woods’ and Jonathan Merritt’s.
I sat in a meeting in 2005 at Catholic University where lawyers, theologians, and social scientists were strategizing about how to prevent this day. I recall a couple of the lawyers who were there opposing gay marriage saying that today was probably inevitable. Anyone who was paying attention over the last decade should not be surprised by the decision today.
I’ll have more to say about the decision once I have read it completely, but my impression is that the five justices see same-sex attraction as an enduring aspect of existence. The state has no compelling interest in requiring people to change it to marry, so the law requires equal recognition of bonds formed by two people so constituted.
I’ve been watching the Supreme Court blog a bit today. One of the bloggers there just wrote the following in response to this question “So – at the end of tomorrow’s session we’ll find out if there will be opinions or just orders on Monday?”
We’ll definitely know for sure then. But we predict already that there will be opinions on Monday. It’s customary, on the second-to-last opinion day of the Term, for the Chief Justice to announce that the remaining opinions are coming on the next day. He didn’t do that today, so we think we have 2 more opinion days.
So tomorrow or Monday, the news cycle will stop and focus on gay marriage. I intend to have a post on the decision as will nearly all other bloggers.
Many evangelicals have predicted doom and gloom if the Supreme Court issues a ruling in favor of gay marriage. However, I predict the sun will come up the next day and after a lot of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, not much will change. Same-sex couples are getting married and divorced now in most states. Heterosexual couples are still doing that too and will do it no matter what the Supreme Court does. Ministers who don’t want to officiate at same-sex marriages won’t have to.
They are here and I am pretty much used to it.