Anti-Gay Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis Is Now A Republican
Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk who became the focus of national attention when she refused to provide license to same-sex couples despite a Federal Court Order compelling her to do so and ended up spending a week in jail because of it, is now officially a Republican:
A county clerk in Kentucky who was briefly jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples said on Friday that she and her family have switched to the Republican Party because the Democrats no longer represented them.
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, 50, who has said her beliefs as an Apostolic Christian prevent her from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, said they had changed parties last week. She was a long-time Democrat in eastern Kentucky.
“My husband and I had talked about it for quite a while and we came to the conclusion that the Democratic Party left us a long time ago, so why were we hanging on?” she told Reuters in an interview at a hotel in Washington, where she has traveled to be feted at a Family Research Council event later on Friday.
Davis also said she did not foresee a problem with the current marriage licenses being issued by her office in Morehead, Kentucky. Critics have charged the altered licenses, which removed her name and title and the name of the county, violate an order issued by U.S. District Judge David Bunning and raise questions about their validity.
“I don’t think there should be much of an issue and the judge didn’t have any problem accepting the licenses that were issued when I was incarcerated, which had been altered, so I don’t see that there should be an issue,” she said.
Davis added, however, that if the new licenses became an issue for Bunning, she was prepared to return to jail.
Davis was jailed for five days in September for refusing to comply with Bunning’s order to issue licenses in line with a Supreme Court ruling in June that made gay marriage legal across the United States.
The stance has made Davis and the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Kentucky and other states the latest focus in a long-running debate over gay marriage in the United States.
She has won support from some conservative Republicans, who say the issue is about religious freedom, but on Friday called the idea of campaigning for Republicans “kind of far fetched.” Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz were among some 4,000 supporters who attended a rally with Davis after her release.
She called “absurd” the idea she should quit as clerk due to her religious beliefs, and said she was following state law that has not changed since the Supreme Court ruling. She added those who called her homophobic didn’t know her.
Davis, who returned to work on Sept. 14, has been under the threat of returning to jail if she interferes in the issuance of licenses.
The couples have asked Bunning to consider ordering a limited receivership for the clerk’s office and fines to ensure that it issues valid marriage licenses.
Attorneys for Davis have said the changes made to the form were a good-faith effort to follow her religious beliefs and to meet the court’s order.
When the Kim Davis story was a big news item several weeks ago, many people on the right took no small amount of glee in pointing out that she was a registered Democrat and that she had been elected to the Clerk’s Office as a Democrat. The obvious implication of pointing this out, of course, was to attempt to deflect some of the blame or responsibility for the negative coverage that Davis was getting, and was bringing to those who remain opposed to same-sex marriage onto the Democratic Party. Anyone with any real knowledge of politics, of course, would have realized immediately that this tidbit of information about Ms. Davis is basically irrelevant. Even in an era where the Republican Party has become dominant in the south among white voters, there still remain heavy pockets where people are still registered as Democrats. This is especially true in Kentucky, where the number of people registered as Democrats outnumbers registered Republicans by some 500,000 people according to this report from May 2014 despite the fact that Kentucky has been reliably Republican in Presidential elections for decades and has been consistently sending Republicans to represent it in the Senate and in the House. Why this is the case isn’t easy to explain, but it’s often something that is based in culture and tradition that has very little to do with political ideology or who a person actually ends up voting for. Kentucky is also state where Democrats have done well in elections for state government, but poorly in Senate, House, and Presidential elections. Given these facts, it seems fairly clear that the fact that Davis was registered as a Democrat really doesn’t tell us anything. In fact, I think we can be confident in predicting that Davis most likely did not vote Democratic in the last two Presidential elections, and possibly before that.
The main reason that Davis’s registration as a Democrat was irrelevant, of course, is the fact that the position she is taking is clearly not one that is at all in line with the platform of the Democratic Party. Her actions have been roundly condemned by the Democrats who have spoken out on the matter, including Kentucky’s Governor Steve Basheer, who fought in favor of the same-sex marriage ban in Court all the way to the Supreme Court, and Hillary Clinton. The only politicians of note who have spoken out in favor of Davis and her position, in fact, have been Republicans, most notably people such as Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and Bobby Jindal. To be fair, some Republicans, such as Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich. George Pataki, and Chris Christie spoke out against Davis and her refusal to do her job, but it seems fairly clear that Davis’s opposition to same-sex marriage and her refusal to do her job based on a claim of “religious liberty” is something that is far more in line with the principles and positions of the Republican Party than it is with the platform of the Democratic Party. In that sense, then, Davis switching her party registration to Republican, and announcing that at a conference held by the right-wing Family Research Council, is really more of a homecoming for her. Whatever her positions may be on economics or other issues, when it comes to social issues, Kim Davis is far more at home in the party of Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz than she is in the party of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
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