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.
On his blog, evangelical Judge Tim Fall addresses the situation of being required to grant divorce decrees.
Let’s choose a different situation. My understanding of the Bible says divorce is prohibited except when certain circumstances exist. Can I refuse to grant a divorce decree for a couple who meets the legal requirements for marital dissolution but who do not meet the biblical requirements?
He says he grants a divorce if the couple meets the legal requirements:
On a divorce case, I check the paperwork and if the people meet the legal requirements for a divorce I grant it. I look on the decree as a judicial declaration that these people are entitled to a divorce under the laws of my state. I take this seriously and sign only those papers that meet every requirement.
He also addresses his stance on marrying gay couples which you can read at his blog.
Fall cites Scripture demonstrating that God doesn’t favor divorce. Will Christians now begin refusing to do their jobs regarding the legal aspects of terminating a marriage?
As Fall points out in his article, there has been no call from Christian leaders to block divorces based on conscience. To me, this lack of consistency is an indicator that Davis is being used by her handlers and other Christian leaders to rouse the rabble and create the appearance of persecution.
UPDATE: A TN judge wants a place in the limelight; denies a straight couple a divorce and blames the same-sex marriage ruling for his stance.
David Bunning, the judge who sent KY clerk Kim Davis to federal custody is a Republican son of a Republican former Senator and according to his mother did not agree with the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage.
Bunning’s dad was popular baseball player and Senator Jim Bunning. He is known as a careful jurist and conservative person who jailed Davis because she would likely be able to pay her fines with supporters’ money.
Davis was jailed earlier today because she refuses to issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Religious right political figures have come to her defense, saying she is suffering for her faith. I think she is getting bad advice from her handlers. I don’t see how every county official’s religious beliefs can be accommodated in such matters. Presumably, if consistent, Davis does not believe in believers and unbelievers being married. Would her supporters advocate for her right to refuse a license to religiously mixed marriages?
According to local media coverage, Bunning raised his own religious beliefs in court:
Bunning said he’s Catholic and the Catholic church says you must have an annulment before you can get remarried. He asked: What would prevent a Catholic clerk from not issuing a marriage license to a divorced person?
We are not governed by sectarian interpretations of any Scripture.
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?
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.