After being rebuffed by the Supreme Court and therefore exhausting the appeals process, Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis denied a marriage license to a gay couple today for the fifth time since the legalization of same-sex marriage. Davis is part of a small group of county clerks who claim that their interpretation of divine law trumps their responsibilities as public officials. Demanding that one couple seeking a marriage license leave her office, Davis said that she is acting “under God’s authority.”
She told the couple that she is acting in preparation for her “time for judgment”: “I’m willing to face my consequences as you all will face your consequences when it comes time for judgment.”
— Dan Griffin (@WSAZDanGriffin) September 1, 2015
While Davis claims that performing her job responsibilities infringes upon her personal religious freedoms, an appeals court made clear that the “injunction operates not against Davis personally, but against the holder of her office of Rowan County Clerk.”
Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, the legal group representing Davis, told the conservative outlet WorldNetDaily today that she should decide what to do based upon prayer. “She’s going to have to think and pray about her decision,” he said, railing against what he calls “the SSM Mandate.”
Liberty Counsel is quite excited that Davis intends to break the law by denying same-sex couples their legal right to marry, as they believe it boosts their claim that gay marriage leads to the persecution of Christians.
Insisting that the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling is inherently unconstitutional since it compels public officials to violate “the moral law of God,” Staver has urged officials across the nation to commit civil disobedience by refusing to recognize the ruling since “neither the United States Supreme Court nor any court has authority to redefine marriage and thereby weaken both the family and society.”
He has repeatedly claimed that gay marriage will lead to a rekindling of the Civil Rights Movement — comparing gay marriage opponents to Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. — along with a revolution and second civil war.
Another defiant clerk in Kentucky, Casey Davis (no relation to Kim Davis), said last week that God has urged him to use his position to tell gays and lesbians to get washed in “the blood of Jesus Christ” instead of “spending eternity in Hell.” Insisting that he is a victim in the “war on Christianity,” Davis said that he may die in his fight against marriage equality:
UPDATE: She said in a statement that she will continue to defy the court:
I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage. To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision. For me it is a decision of obedience. I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God’s Word. It is a matter of religious liberty, which is protected under the First Amendment, the Kentucky Constitution, and in the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Our history is filled with accommodations for people’s religious freedom and conscience. I want to continue to perform my duties, but I also am requesting what our Founders envisioned – that conscience and religious freedom would be protected. That is all I am asking. I never sought to be in this position, and I would much rather not have been placed in this position. I have received death threats from people who do not know me. I harbor nothing against them. I was elected by the people to serve as the County Clerk. I intend to continue to serve the people of Rowan County, but I cannot violate my conscience. (emphasis added)