Supreme Court Rules Against Kentucky Clerk in Gay Marriage Case

Aug 31, 2015

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

By Elisha Fieldstadt

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a Kentucky county clerk’s request to deny gay marriage licenses on the basis of religious objections.

The court issued the one-line order without explanation.

Kim Davis, the clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, “holds an undisputed sincerely held religious belief that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, only,” her lawyers had said in an application after the Supreme Court ruled earlier this summer that same-sex marriage was legal across the country.

Immediately after the Supreme Court’s June 26th gay marriage ruling, Kentucky’s governor, Steve Beshear, ordered all the state’s county clerks to comply with the decision and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

When Davis refused, citing her religious objection, couples seeking licenses sued, and a federal judge ordered her to comply. Last week a three-judge panel of the Sixth Court of Appeals agreed. The Supreme Court decision on Monday denied Davis’ request for a stay while she pursues an appeal.


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31 comments on “Supreme Court Rules Against Kentucky Clerk in Gay Marriage Case

  • It’s not clear exactly what Davis will do when her office opens Tuesday. Her attorney said she will pray about it overnight.

    A waste of time. She could use that same time to research the prevailing science about same sex attraction. That would give her evidence to guide her. She could research the power of prayer, which would tell her she’s wasting 8 hours of her life. She could research the probability of the existence of any god that has ever been invented. This would make her realize her particular personal god has equal status with every god that has ever been named. She could research the defects, mistakes, lies and exhortations to violence in the bible, and realize that it was written by men, is not the word of god, and isn’t a reliable guide to moral or ethical decisions….

    But she won’t, because any of the above would require her to think for herself. Deep sigh…..



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  • @OP – When Davis refused, citing her religious objection, couples seeking licenses sued, and a federal judge ordered her to comply.

    Which basically says, as an employee, she has to do the job she is employed to do, regardless of bigotry or nutty beliefs.

    I wonder if some of these people on the link below, would take a job in a travel agents and claim the right to refuse to sell “Round the World Cruises”, or give satellite weather reports?

    http://www.livescience.com/24310-flat-earth-belief.html
    Members of the Flat Earth Society claim to believe the Earth is flat. Walking around on the planet’s surface, it looks andfeels flat, so they deem all evidence to the contrary, such as satellite photos of Earth as a sphere, to be fabrications of a “round Earth conspiracy” orchestrated by NASA and other government agencies.



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  • When I was teaching, a mate of mine in the science dept used to drive his students to distraction by teaching that the world was flat. He had answers to all their objections, and they never got the better of him. Of course he didn’t believe that, and said that he was doing it to demonstrate something or other about the scientific method, although I forget what precisely that was…….



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  • This god-deluded self-important clerk is now apparently defying the court!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-34118095
    A Christian official has refused to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples in Kentucky despite exhausting all of her legal options.

    Two gay couples earlier denied licenses have requested Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis be held in contempt of court.

    But they asked a district judge to punish Ms Davis by fining her, rather than sending her to jail.

    The US Supreme Court on Monday rejected the argument that her faith prevented her from carrying out her duty.

    Despite court orders to continue issuing licences, Ms Davis turned away two gay couples seeking marriage licences on Tuesday morning.

    Ms Davis, who cannot be removed from post because she is an elected official, stayed inside her office with the blinds closed as the couples demanded to see her.

    She eventually came out, but she said she would not issue any licences.

    “Under whose authority?” she was asked. “Under God’s authority,” she said.

    Dozens of reporters and activists, both supporters and opponents of gay marriage, filled the waiting area of the Rowan County clerk’s office, alternatively chanting “do your job” and “stand firm”.

    Clearly both she and her god-delusion need to spend time in jail, considering the offence of contempt of court, and that those employed (whether elected or not), to implement the law, are not there to carry it out, not to “make-it-up-as-they-go-along according to how they feel”!

    Since the court legalised gay marriage nationwide two months ago, Ms Davis has refused to issue any marriage licences to anyone.

    The American Civil Liberties Union sued her on behalf of two gay couples and two heterosexual couples.

    Meanwhile a compensation claim for punitive damages needs to be made, for those whose wedding days have been spoiled by her illegal pig-headedness.



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  • @BBC link – Two gay couples earlier denied licenses have requested Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis be held in contempt of court.

    But they asked a district judge to punish Ms Davis by fining her, rather than sending her to jail.

    That was very silly!
    Some of her supporting bigots would make donations to pay the fine while the charade continues!
    Authoritative decisive action needs to put an end to this legal pussy-footing! – Jail for this obstructive dysfunctional clerk, with a temp or replacement clerk getting on with doing the job!



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  • Marriage as defined by secular authority, the US supreme court in this case has nothing to do with any religion, Christianity or otherwise. Ms Davis is not being asked to recognise the union of any two people as being valid according to her beliefs, all she’s being asked to do is issue a piece of paper that allows two people to marry according to their beliefs and the law of the land. The logical but absurd end result of her argument that only a Christian marriage according to her beliefs can happen is that only Christians can get married on her watch. Others, Jews Muslims, Buddhists, et al need not apply. Possibly taken to the utter extreme she would want to refuse licences to Christians who aren’t members of her particular church. If she truly believes that only her version of a Christian marriage is valid, this is what she must do!



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  • Alan4discussion,

    a temp or replacement clerk getting on with doing the job!

    ~jumps up and down waving hand in air~

    Me! Me! Me!

    Can I have that temp job please?!

    I’ll decorate my new office with rainbow flags and cakes with double grooms and double brides on top too. Wouldn’t it be great to replace this hate mongerer with a gay-friendly nice atheist lady?



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  • As we know from the news today– she continues to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same gender couples. As an elected official, she cannot be fired. However, she could be impeached, a court could issue a contempt of court order and put her in jail for refusing to follow the law, and she can be sued by those that have been turned away. I hope all three happen… tomorrow!



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  • I have a great deal of difficulty understanding what goes on inside the heads of these bat shit crazy people but I wonder how her pig headedness affects others. I’m sure there’s very little that gets through to the fundamentalist brigade but those more in the religious middle ground must surely watch this sort of stupidity and think it reflects badly on religion and that maybe humanism and atheism might be worth looking into.



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  • Yes she can be fired. By the Kentucky State Government. No minor elected officials are completely teflon coated although it’s a sad state of affairs compared to how officials are appointed in the UK.



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  • I’m not sure getting her fired will have the best overall campaign result. Even prosecuting her, fine or jail. Yep. She’s guilty as charged, but how will the media play it.

    THOSE EVIL HEATHEN HOMOSEXUAL LOVING ATHEISTS DID THIS. SEE WE TOLD YOU. Blah Blah.

    I suspect a campaign of continuous protest, bringing media attention to the issue. She will be portrayed as the closed minded religious fanatic, and a polite but persistent protester will be seen to wear the halo.

    Bonnie’s link above is an ideal response. Get the moderate church talking and supporting the protest, and the validity of the law. Distraught gay couples being refused entry to a government building, or coming out empty handed, no stamp on the application paper make excellent media footage. The media cycle will move on however. At that time, impeachment. Offer a transfer to an alternative function that doesn’t involve religion. Street sweeping? Give her nothing to complain about. We occupy the high moral ground. We are the compassionate atheists. (Hard swallow)

    If she is prosecuted, fired, fined or sent to jail, the media feeding frenzy will set back the cause and loose public sympathy. She will be the martyr. She will be the weeping victim on the tellie, not the gay couple refused a lawful marriage licence.

    In a rational society, all of Indygrl76’s options should be on the table. But America is not rational, especially if it involves white anglo saxon protestant religion. Tread lightly me thinks.



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  • Indygrl76
    Sep 1, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    As we know from the news today– she continues to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same gender couples.

    According to my BBC link in my comment above, she is running some sort of general protest, and is not issuing documents to anyone homosexual or heterosexual. She is simply refusing to do the job she was elected to do!



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  • Arkrid Sandwich
    Sep 2, 2015 at 2:42 am

    Yes she can be fired. By the Kentucky State Government. No minor elected officials are completely teflon coated although it’s a sad state of affairs compared to how officials are appointed in the UK.

    I am not familiar US law, but if she was convicted of contempt of the supreme court, they may be implications.

    In the UK, any of the more serious criminal convictions, carry an automatic disqualification from public office.



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  • She’s undoubtedly already in contempt of court having exhausted all appeal procedures and hopefully a few months in jail will concentrate her mind, although I doubt if there’s much inside there to be concentrated.

    I imagine the State Government via the Attorney General will also sack her very shortly.



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  • I see in the news that this woman has been married four times and divorced three times. She seems to be mightily concerned about what the buybull says about gays but not so much about what it says about divorce. However cherry picking which bits you want to adhere to is standard practice for fundies. I’ve noted that they pay little attention to the commandment that says thou shalt not lie, none at all to the bit about it’s harder for a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, or working on the sabbath, or coveting thy neighbour’s ass.

    However the bit that gets me most is that there have been four men who actually wanted to marry that shapeless lump.



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  • I see in the news that this woman has been married four times and
    divorced three times.

    I saw that too, but to be fair, I also saw that she has ‘only’ been an evangelical Christian for the last four years. So she’s not necessarily being quite as hypocritical on this particular point as it seems at first glance.

    I’ve noted that they pay little attention to the commandment that says
    thou shalt not lie, none at all to the bit about it’s harder for a
    rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye
    of a needle, or working on the sabbath, or coveting thy neighbour’s
    ass.

    All true, and even more relevantly:

    Matthew 7:1-3 KJV – Judge not, that ye be not judged

    and

    Matthew 7:3 – And why behold you the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye?

    I am no longer a Christian myself, but when I was, it was very much the generosity of the New Testament Jesus towards those who were treated as outcasts in the society around him that appealed to me and inspired me. I marvel over and over again that these self-righteous, meanspirited, supposedly bible-believing evangelical Christians never seem to notice that, according to their own supposedly holy book, the man who is supposed to be their role-model in all things was invited many times to condemn the behaviour of others, yet never did so, instead emphasizing that we shouldn’t judge others, that we shouldn’t be ungenerous towards others, and that, basically, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. The contrast between these people and the man they kid themselves is their role-model simply couldn’t be greater, and it never fails to amaze me that they never seem to notice the fact.



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  • Marco
    Sep 3, 2015 at 3:33 am

    I see in the news that this woman has been married four times and
    divorced three times.

    That does not suggest a very successful record of marital relationships or choice of partners!

    I saw that too, but to be fair, I also saw that she has ‘only’ been an evangelical Christian for the last four years.

    So now she has “faith-thinking”, she has become confidently “expert” on the subject, and has decided to dictate to other people!



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  • Arkrid Sandwich
    Sep 2, 2015 at 12:07 am

    I have a great deal of difficulty understanding what goes on inside the heads of these bat shit crazy people but I wonder how her pig headedness affects others.

    As more information comes to light, a probable clearer picture emerges.

    This woman may well be a repressed lesbian, with a string of failed heterosexual marriages, who has been struggling with her indoctrination dictating the exclusivity of heterosexual marriage.
    It looks like the evangelicals recruited her, offering a “fundamentalist, theological, faith solution”, to her problems, – while the well funded “Liberty Nuts”, have found an easily manipulated, suggestible Dunning-Kruger stooge, to martyr to THEIR bigoted homophobic cause!



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  • You may well be on to something there. Those people who get most obsessed by homosexuality tend to turn out to be repressed ones themselves. Ted Haggard springs to mind and I always thought that nutter who started the Westboro Baptist church just had to be one too.



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  • There’s another wrinkle in this story which points up either 1) what a hypocrite Kim Davis is, 2) how poorly she knows her scriptures, 3) how heavily she cherry-picks her scriptures, or some combination of all the above. Steve Wells points out:

    Kim Davis’s marriage to her former husband is “an abomination before the Lord”

    When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass
    that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some
    uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and
    give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is
    departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. And
    if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement,
    and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the
    latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; Her former husband,
    which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that
    she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord: and thou
    shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy God giveth thee
    for an inheritance. Deuteronomy 24:1-4

    Just sayin’…

    Steve



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  • I see the usual suspects in the GOP, Huckabee, Jindal, Cruz etc are blaring their support for this dingbat and whining about her being locked up just for being a christian. Never mind that she’s being jailed for contempt of court and refusing to do her job and nothing really to do with her faith which she’s free to practice whenever she likes out of office hours.

    It goes to show just how dangerous these people could be if they ever achieved high office. Apparently the rule of law, one’s oath to do one’s job are subservient to one’s supposed right to live by a bigoted, sexist, racist bronze age code of conduct with no relevance to the modern world.

    How could anyone trust such a person to be president or frankly any sort of public official?



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  • Alan4discussion
    Sep 3, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    She is now in jail for contempt of court!

    I see the link has now been up-dated to give more detail:-

    Ms Davis’ lawyer, Mat Staver, said: “The judge said that he’s going to bring her back out in another week and see if she’s changed her mind. But knowing Kim Davis, she’s a woman of strong conviction and conscience and I don’t see her changing her mind.”

    Ms Davis’ lawyer had claimed that her deputy clerks could only issues licenses under Davis’ authority, but the judge overruled that objection.

    Five deputy clerks told the judge on Thursday they would comply with the court order. A sixth deputy clerk, Ms Davis’ son, Nathan, refused.

    The judge decided not to hold Nathan Davis in contempt of court.

    She can only be removed from her position if the Kentucky legislature impeaches her because she is an elected official.

    Various 2016 Republican presidential candidates, like Mike Huckabee, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Marco Rubio, have come out in support of Ms Davis’ decisions.

    Obviously it would be a waste of time to elect any of these legally incompetent candidates to pass legislation, which as laws, can be ignored by anyone with personal “moral objections” to those laws, or to the oaths such administrators have given to up-hold the law and do their duty!

    Others like Carly Fiorina, Senator Lindsey Graham and Ohio Governor John Kasich have said she must do her job and comply with the law.



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  • Alan4discussion
    Sep 4, 2015 at 5:43 am

    Ms Davis’ lawyer had claimed that her deputy clerks could only issues licenses under Davis’ authority, but the judge overruled that objection.

    Perhaps we could suggest some “novel”management “innovations”, for these backwaters of ignorance and incompetence!

    Rather than asking Davis’ permission to approve whatever she thinks feels good – item by item, or follow what objectives she is making up on “faith” as she goes along, they could write legally compliant policies and procedure documents, and train the 6 deputies and staff to follow them – along with some training on providing prompt and efficient customer service! – With periodic appraisal of their competence in delivering the service!
    Now who in the modern world would have thought of that as a business model??????



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  • Arkrid Sandwich
    Sep 4, 2015 at 3:12 am

    Apparently the rule of law, one’s oath to do one’s job are subservient to one’s supposed right to live by a bigoted, sexist, racist bronze age code of conduct with no relevance to the modern world.

    I was wondering if she affirmed the oath, of if she swore it on the Bible????



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