I haven’t given much thought or consideration to the Kim Davis controversy in Rowan County, Ky. Even as my social media feeds have blown up with updates on the story, I just haven’t been compelled to write about it.
In case you’ve missed the story (and I’m not quite sure how you could have), let me catch you up to speed. TL;DR style:
A single county clerk, Kim Davis, in a single county and state, Rowan County, Ky., is having a hissy fit over June’s marriage equality decision by the Supreme Court. Since that time, she’s been refusing to issue any marriage licenses to any couple, all in an effort to prevent her from having to issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples. Lower courts, a circuit court and the U.S. Supreme Court have all denied her appeals after couples sought an order forcing her to do her taxpayer-funded job as a public, elected official. Called into federal court on Thursday, she again refused to comply with an order to do her job and a federal judge held her in contempt of court. He remanded her to the custody of U.S. Marshals. She’s now in jail. (The judge felt that fines, which plaintiffs wanted, wouldn’t be a sufficient penalty, likely considering that her supporters would likely pay the fines, not her.)
So, there. You’re caught up.
And now I’m writing about this insanity, all because a friend on Twitter rightly made this astute observation this afternoon:
— Mel Hartsell (@melhartsell) September 3, 2015
That’s right — Davis’ personal religious objection to doing her job is perfectly legal in North Carolina. All because the legislature this year passed an anti-LGBT magistrate refusal bill. Magistrates in North Carolina can legally tell the state they won’t do their job and they’ll be recused. Even while collecting 100 percent of their paycheck.
And officials here have taken advantage of this ludicrously dangerous precedent. The News & Observer reported in July that 14 magistrates across the state had already taken advantage of the new law. (Update: The Associated Press reports today that number has risen to 30.)
Laws like those in North Carolina — though missing in Kentucky — allow any magistrate for any reason to simply say they won’t do their job. Their “sincerely held belief” doesn’t have to be tested and the law doesn’t define what a “sincerely held belief” actually is. It’s legalized anarchy, pure and simple. All on the backs of taxpayers.
Davis’ supporters on the far-right are having a field day with her contempt charge and arrest.
Take this social media evangelist, for example, who says Davis’ arrest is the beginning of the “Christian Holocaust.”
Ignore that insane rant above, and let’s get something clear, in the simple and short words of openly gay evangelical Brandan Robertson:
So Kim Davis has been taken in to custody. My conservative brothers and sisters might be tempted to think this is “persecution” or a sign of what’s to come for pastors and church leaders that refuse to marry LGBTQ couples. Let me assure you, it’s not. Davis, as a representative of the government, broke the law repeatedly and publicly and refused to do her job. This has absolutely nothing to do with persecution or faith and everything to do with a woman intentionally refusing to be faithful to her job description. Please keep that in mind.
Last word: Anti-gay Christians, you are not “under attack.” You are not going to jail “for your beliefs.” Get over yourselves. I’m very sorry (actually, not sorry), that this nation’s and Western Civilization’s laws no longer revolve around or base themselves on your centuries of anti-LGBT religious bigotry.