Sunday, September 6, 2015
Jailed, Defiant KY Clerk: Fallout
Kim Davis of Rowan County, KY has been in jail for several days now, igniting a harsh debate between LGBT supporters and religious conservatives.
Davis has been offered release if she would vow to not interfere with her employees issuing licences to couples. Davis refused, say she did not want to issue them because it requires her signature as an elected county clerk.
Since her imprisonment, Judge Bunning ordered that the other clerks in the office issue licenses or suffer the same consequences as Davis. All complied except Davis's son. Banning decided it wasn't an issue as long as other clerks provided the licenses and Davis's son did not prevent the issuing of licenses.
Several couples celebrated their long-awaited marriage licenses from the Rowan County office after the imprisonment of Davis. Rallies from both sides chanted "Love Wins" and "Welcome to Sodom and Gomorrah". Many gathered at Davis's prison to yell out their support for her fight in "God's name". Davis states she is happy with her head up, suffering the consequences as Martin Luther King, Jr. Others say this is no comparison. Davis has the key to her own cell. This is no martyr. This is a demonstration to devolve civil progression in the name of religion.
Davis, from jail, and her attorney stated that these licenses were invalid without her signature. Judge Bunning said the validity is unknown, and it's the couples' own risk considering the situation. Banning hopes that the legislature changes the laws removing the requirement for the clerk's signature, whether executive order or an expensive unplanned legislative session.
Utah experts say that Kentucky and other states can learn from the laws recently put in the books in Utah to protect those with religious beliefs and the rights of LGBT citizens. Any clerk unwilling to provide licenses to gay couples is removed from the ability to issue them to anyone. No official signature is required by the elected clerk, but is permitted if the clerk wishes. As far as performing marriages, no office is required to provide an officiator, so long as an alternative judge or religious leader is provided and willing to perform it. Davis and Weber counties are the only ones in UT no longer perform marriages, but they offer several other options to applicants.
Although the results from this debacle are only speculation, there is hope that a compromise can be made so that Davis doesn't not need to violate her conscience, but also that legal applicants can receive their licenses in Rowan County.