Kentucky’s Kim Davis ran out of legal options yesterday. The clerk, who opposes marriage equality for religious reasons, has refused to issue marriage licenses to couples she decides are morally objectionable, despite the fact that Davis is paid to issue marriage licenses.
She and her attorney took the matter to court, and a federal district court judge said Davis could either follow the law or get a new job. She took her case to the 6th Circuit, which is pretty conservative, but which nevertheless rejected her case. Last week, Davis appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which turned the case away yesterday.
All of which led to this morning, when Davis decided to ignore the court rulings, the law, and her official responsibilities. MSNBC’s Emma Margolin reported:
A Kentucky clerk is still refusing to issue marriage licenses due to her religious opposition to same-sex nuptials, the Associated Press reported Tuesday, even after the U.S. Supreme Court dealt the final blow to her argument.On Tuesday morning, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis denied marriage licenses to at least two couples, telling them she was acting “under God’s authority.” She then asked David Moore and David Ermold, a couple who has been rejected by her office four times, to leave.
When the local resident said, “We’re not leaving until we have a license,” Davis responded, “Then you’re going to have a long day.”
The Lexington Herald-Leader reported this morning that the federal judge in the case ordered Davis to “appear in his courtroom Thursday and explain why she should not be held in contempt of court.”
As a rule, judges tend not to like it when citizens ignore the law and deliberately defy court orders. It’s worth noting for context that U.S. District Judge David Bunning, appointed to the bench by George W. Bush, is presiding over the case.
It seems likely that Kim Davis will become a cause celebre in conservative circles, a status that will grow if she’s jailed for contempt. But given every relevant detail, it’s awfully difficult to see her in a sympathetic light.
Davis is paid by the taxpayers of Rowan County to, among other things, issue marriage licenses to couples. But she doesn’t like issuing marriage licenses, at least not to everyone entitled to them.
As Davis sees it, she wants to keep her job, and continue to receive taxpayer-financed paychecks, but she also wants the freedom not to do her job whenever she feels it.
The local clerk could simply find some other line of work – one that doesn’t cause a conflict between her spiritual beliefs and her responsibilities – but Davis doesn’t want that, either. As far as Davis is concerned, she can refuse to do her job and she can refuse to find a different job.
It seems likely the federal judge will explain to her that her posture is untenable.