• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Republican Candidates Rally Around Lawbreaker Kim Davis, Trample All Over The Rule Of Law

Kimberly Davis

The first marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples in Rowan County, Kentucky today in the wake of yesterday’s decision by Judge David Bunning to hold County Clerk Kim Davis in contempt and jail her until she agrees to comply with his order. The licenses are being issued by five of the six deputy clerks that work in Davis’s office, each of whom had told Judge Bunning yesterday that they would be willing to issue licenses if Davis allowed them. While Davis refused to purge her contempt by agreeing to do that, the deputies are going ahead with issuing licenses in her absence, and she remains in jail with no indication that she is going to change her position any time soon. As things stand right now, it appears that Davis will continue to be a guest of the U.S. Marshal Service, and that this will continue until she gives Judge Bunning some assurance that she will comply with his order by at least permitted her deputies to issue marriage licenses to any same-sex couples that may apply for one. After all, the fact that licenses are being issued now is due mostly to the fact that she is absent from the office, if she were to be released and return and again forbid her employees from issuing them, then her release will have been premature. For that reason alone, it appears that this standoff will continue for sometime.

While that legal battle is going on, this entire issue has, inevitably perhaps, become an issue in the Presidential campaign with nearly every Republican candidate for President lining up in support of Davis rather than supporting the Rule Of Law:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: In a Wednesday radio interview with Laura Ingraham, Christie acknowledged that “someone who works in the government has a bit of a different obligation than someone who’s in the private sector or obviously working for educational institutions that’s religiously based or others,” but opined that “we have to protect religious liberty and people’s ability to be able to practice their religion freely and openly, and of course we have to enforce the law too.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz: In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Cruz denounced a “war on faith” and wrote: “We should make it possible for believers, such as Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in Kentucky, to hold government jobs without having to violate their religious beliefs. We can work together to come up with alternative ways to ensure that government functions are accomplished without infringing on religious liberty.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: In a statement on Tuesday, Huckabee said, “I spoke with Kim Davis this morning to offer my prayers and support. I let her know how proud I am of her for not abandoning her religious convictions and standing strong for religious liberty. She is showing more courage and humility than just about any federal office holder in Washington.” Huckabee further argued that since the Supreme Court does not have the authority to make law, it would be unconstitutional for Davis to issue same-sex marriage licenses. “I stand with Kim Davis and every American of faith under attack by Washington elites who have nothing but disdain for us, our faith and the Constitution,” he concluded.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal: Jindal told the Huffington Post that Davis should not have to resign or to issue licenses to same-sex couples: “I don’t think anyone should have to choose between following their conscience and religious beliefs and giving up their job and facing financial sanctions. I think it’s wrong to force Christian individuals or business owners. We are seeing government today discriminate against whether it’s clerks, florists, musicians or others. I think that’s wrong. I think you should be able to keep your job and follow your conscience. I absolutely do believe people have a First Amendment right, a constitutional right. I don’t think the court can take that away.”

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul: On Boston Herald Radio, Paul said Monday that government should not have any role in marriage licensing and that specifically he objects “to the state putting its imprimatur to the specialness of marriage on something that’s different from what most people have defined as marriage for most of history.” He defended Davis, arguing, “I think people who do stand up and are making a stand to say that they believe in something is an important part of the American way.”

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio: In a statement to the New York Times, Rubio called for “a balance between government’s responsibility to abide by the laws of our republic and allowing people to stand by their religious convictions.” Noting that the clerk’s office has a “governmental duty to carry out the law,” he urged that, “there should be a way to protect the religious freedom and conscience rights of individuals working in the office.” He added that the nation “was founded on the human right of religious freedom, and our elected leaders have a duty to protect that right by ensuring that no one is forced by the government to violate their conscience and deeply held religious beliefs about traditional marriage.”

(…)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker told Laura Ingraham: “It’s a balance that you’ve got to have in America between the laws that are out there, but ultimately ensuring the Constitution is upheld. I read that the Constitution is very clear, that people have the freedom of religion. That means you have the freedom to practice your religious beliefs out there.”

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said in a statement, “I have great respect for Ms. Davis’ and her courage to stand up for her faith. In America we should not have to choose between keeping our job and practicing our faith,” and said on CNN on Friday that “what Kim Davis did is heroic.”

Of the seventeen Republican candidates for President, only four of them have made statement critical of Davis and said that she either needs to follow the law and the orders of the District Court, or she needs to resign her position. Carly Fiorina, who has seen her political stock rise since appearing in the “Kids Table” debate on August 6th and now has a place on the main stage in two weeks, said that Davis’s actions were “not appropriate” and that she should comply with the law if she is going to stay in office. Jeb Bush said that Davis is “sworn to uphold the law,” and must act accordingly. Ohio Governor John Kasich referred back to his statement after the Supreme Court ruling in June where he said that the Court’s decision was the law of the land and government officials must respect it. Former New York Governor George Pataki was also among those who joined in the call for Davis to respect the law as a government official. Even Donald Trump managed to get on the right side of this issue in his initial comments on the story last night, although he was prevaricating on the issue by the time he was on Morning Joe this morning.

It’s not at all surprising, of course, to see where most of these candidates have fallen on this issue. People like Mike Huckabee, who apparently will be attending a rally for Davis on Tuesday, Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, and others have based a significant portion of their campaigns, and indeed their entire political careers, on pandering to the so-called “religious right.” For any of them to say anything different from what they have would have been completely out of character, and likely something for which they would have paid a heavy political price. Even the more moderate candidates that have sided with Davis are doing so largely because they know that taking the opposite position will create problems in an environment where their campaigns are already struggling. Similarly, most of the candidates who are being critical of Davis are those that aren’t necessarily dependent on socially conservative voters, or at least have the ability to appeal to voters beyond that group. Perhaps the one surprise in the second group is Carly Fiorina, who has seldom strayed from conservative orthodoxy for most of her campaign. Perhaps with her star rising she feels more free to step away, but it’s also possible that as a California Republican she is more libertarian on issues related to gay rights than many of her fellow candidates.

In reality, of course, none of these candidates should be speaking out in support of Davis. Contrary to the arguments that her supporters make, this is not an issue of religious liberty, it is a question of whether or not a government official will comply with law and with the duly rendered decisions of a court. Unlike the cases involving bakers and florists that have become something of an issue in the wake of the rising legalization of same-sex marriage even before the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell, Davis is not some private citizen who is being deprived of her right to live in accordance with her religious beliefs. She is a government official, and an elected one at that meaning that she actually sought out this position, no doubt in part because of its $80,000 per year salary. While she is entitled to have her personal religious beliefs, and there are certainly circumstances where her employment with the government should not be allowed to interfere with those beliefs, she is not entitled to use those beliefs as an excuse to violate the law, ignore the orders of a Federal Court, and violate the rights of the citizens who pay her salary and whom she is supposed to be representing.

Someone who is running for the highest office in the United States should not encouraging this kind of law breaking by a government official. In fact, it is ironic that the same candidates who are now praising Davis for her illegal actions routinely attack the President for what they claim is his extra-legal actions. Even leaving aside the question of whether their criticisms of Obama have merit, the fact that they attack him for allegedly doing the same thing that they are praising Davis for is nothing more than rank partisan hypocrisy. Furthermore, if you are running to be the Chief Executive of the United States and endorsing illegal actions by government officials, I would argue that you have per se disqualified yourself from being taken seriously.

None of the Republican who are praising Davis will be punished for their comments, of course. Given the nature of the modern Republican Party, in fact, it’s five candidates who are criticizing her who are more likely to be attacked by the party’s base. That, however, is just a demonstration of how far gone the base of the Republican Party is at this point. They’d rather support a lawbreaker than the Rule of Law. The American people should judge them accordingly.

Update: South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham has also said that Davis needs to comply with the law or resign her position.

Related Posts:

  • None Found

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Modulo Myself says:

    I think if you polled most non-lawyers, a strong majority would say that conscience CAN trump the law. I doubt there would be much articulation of the consequences of this position, but the thing in itself resonates everywhere.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Matt says:

    I wish I could ask these idiots supporting Kim Davis some questions.

    So we shouldn’t be mad about 9/11 then as that was a crime committed with sincerely held religious beliefs?

    So it’s perfectly fine for a Muslim extremist to cut your head off as their sincerely held beliefs demand that they kill the kafir?

    After all those supporters are supporting a person that is breaking the law because of a sincerely held religious belief.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Ms. Davis is a registered (and elected) Democrat, and is following the example of other Democrats who put their personal principles on gay marriage ahead of the law. Just to name a few:

    Former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who ordered his city to issue gay marriage licenses while it was still illegal.

    Governor Jerry Brown, who not only refused to defend the legally-passed Proposition 8, but fought to keep anyone else from defending it.

    President Barack Obama, who similarly refused to defend the Bill Clinton-signed Defense of Marriage Act.

    So “conscience over the law” sometimes, “the law is the law” other times, depending on which side you’re on?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Modulo Myself says:

    @Matt:

    Are you mad about 9/11 because it was a crime, or a beheading because it was against the law?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Argon says:

    It’s interesting that even Rod Dreher is trying to soothe the ‘Christians will soon be hunted in the streets’ hand wringing community that he’s cultivated throughout the SSM debate. Many are starting to question his bona fides now. Now Rod’s trying to define the ‘perfect hill to die upon’ for effective martyr-ship.

    Surprisingly enough, Dreher’s “hill” seems pretty much like what most people in the US and the courts have consistently defended. It’s got to be depressing, forever being a tempest trying to find a teapot or trying to find the right martyr in a pack of wannabes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Argon says:

    Jeb! had to conduct a poll and read the results before issuing his position. Then he had to market test the wording through several rounds. That’s why he was a bit late to the party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Scott says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who ordered his city to issue gay marriage licenses while it was still illegal.

    So you agree that Gavin Newsome was within his rights? I’m always confused when people use this kind of argument. What exactly are you arguing?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    There are two other clerks in Kentucky taking the same position as Davis, and they are both Republicans.

    Newsom’s actions were wrong, but they were a publicity stunt and when they were ruled illegal, he stopped.

    And the Obama Administration’s decision not to defend DOMA was not improper but was rather a proper exercise of Executive Branch power and prerogative, nor was it something unusual. Even Republican Administrations have refused to defend in Court laws they believe to be unconstitutional.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Modulo Myself says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The thing about gay marriage was that it was a law based on nothing. Killing as murder is against the law but it is also an act that has consequences regardless of its legality. Gay marriage’s consequences for those who are not gay married are as meaningful as being Operative Thetan in Scientology. Gavin Newsome marrying two men was like a black man sleeping with a white woman in some cracker town banning interracial relationships.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Modulo Myself says:

    As far as Rule of Law goes, let’s not forget the lawlessness of underage drinking. I mean, those Black Bloc parents out there who chuckle when their 20 year-old has a beer. It’s a step closer to total anarchistic breakdown, I tell you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Chris M. says:

    Thank you for titling this piece so perfectly and appropriately.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Matt says:

    @Modulo Myself: Nope because 9/11 was the end result of our actions and inaction and I don’t know anyone that has been beheaded.

    Irrelevant as I’m not the one advocating for people to break the law because they are Christian.

    @Modulo Myself: I’m positive those that are seeking to get married there would say there’s been many consequences as a result of this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. DrDaveT says:

    [Christie] opined that “we have to protect religious liberty and people’s ability to be able to practice their religion freely and openly, and of course we have to enforce the law too.”

    In other words: “Splunge!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who ordered his city to issue gay marriage licenses while it was still illegal.

    Governor Jerry Brown, who not only refused to defend the legally-passed Proposition 8, but fought to keep anyone else from defending it.

    President Barack Obama, who similarly refused to defend the Bill Clinton-signed Defense of Marriage Act.

    And of course your equivalence is false: In each of those instances, did a court rule or otherwise order Newsome, Brown, and Obama to cease and desist in their actions, and order them to follow the law? If so did those people comply? Yes.

    In the case of Davis, the courts have told her to comply with the law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. al-Ameda says:

    Naturally the Right has twisted this into a ‘freedom of religion’ argument.

    Never mind that the First Amendment talks about how the government shall not establish a religion, and never mind the fact that Davis was, de facto, establishing her religion as a basis for decision making in the office of the county clerk.

    Conservative white folks are the most ardent and insistent self-proclaimed victims in America today.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. Scott F. says:

    I wish someone would ask any of these politicians in what way precisely Kim Davis is being denied her freedom to practice her faith. She’s not be denied her right to pray (privately or publicly), to go to church or even to publicly declare that she thinks the same-sex couples seeking licenses will rot in hell. She’s not being told what she must believe. She’s not being asked to actually officiate any same-sex weddings and she certainly isn’t be forced to marry another woman.

    As far as I can tell, she remains perfectly free to practice her faith as completely as she wishes. The only thing she is not being allowed to do is to bar someone else from believing what they believe and acting as they see fit. The only religious freedoms being denied here are those of the same-sex couples who want to have their unions sanctified in marriage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. Ron Beasley says:

    The Republican candidates have little choice at this point. They need the support of the Religious Right/Republican base to win the primaries. The question is can they distance themselves enough from the Bible thumpers to win the general election?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. Greg says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    You unfortunately confuse ‘personal principles’ and ‘religious principles’.
    While they may seem the same, the difference is that when you are an elected official, one of them stays home. She chose the wrong one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. alanstorm says:

    @al-Ameda:

    ” In each of those instances, did a court rule or otherwise order Newsome, Brown, and Obama to cease and desist in their actions, and order them to follow the law? If so did those people comply? Yes.”

    Really? When did Obama defend DOMA?

    Nice try. However, a better example is The Won’s arbitrary “adjustments” to Obamacare, and Hillary’s flagrant disregard of the law re: secure communications via email.

    Neither of which caused them to go to jail.

    ” In fact, it is ironic that the same candidates who are now praising Davis for her illegal actions routinely attack the President for what they claim is his extra-legal actions.”

    Following precedents is a respected legal tradition. Just ask any judge.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. anjin-san says:

    Bottom tier candidates with support cratering desperately seek relevancy. Film at 11…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. gVOR08 says:

    @Ron Beasley: Trump has refused to support her. (So far, who knows what tomorrow might bring.) I find it fascinating that Trump seems to be able to slide past religion. It’s almost like being sufficiently ra…nativist gets you a free pass.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. Cal American says:

    Does she understand the irony of using her government position to force her christian beliefs on others?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. Kylopod says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Ms. Davis is a registered (and elected) Democrat, and is following the example of other Democrats who put their personal principles on gay marriage ahead of the law.

    Uh, huh. So a woman who espouses a policy position identified almost exclusively with the GOP by now, and whose defenders so far have come entirely from within the GOP, is illustrative of Democratic traits. Got it.

    You know what I find amazing about you? You seem to have scrubbed from your mind all traces of the concept that political issues are actually worth caring about for the effect they have on people’s lives. It is absolutely clear that the only thing that matters to you is lamely trying to score “points” against the other “team.” Most people come here to discuss what they actually believe about SSM and other issues. But to you, it’s all one big ping-pong match.

    In some ways, I find crazy homophobes whining about “religious freedom” preferable to you, because at least they show some evidence of believing in and caring about something other than simply “RAH RAH GOP!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. Paul L. says:

    Yet Doug applauded the State AGs in PA and CA, who would not do their jobs and defend their states Defense of marriage laws.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. stonetools says:

    There is nothing more buffoonish than right wing trolls here who are somehow trying to blame Davis’ illegal attempt to impose her religious beliefs on others on the Democratic Party.
    Look, the Democratic Party finally got it right on SSM. The Republicans are the ones cheering on Ms. Davis, for the most part. Ms. Davis seems to be one of the old style “Southern Democrats” who were conservative and bigoted, and who just didn’t bother to change their registration to Republican, like most of the old , white Southern Democrats did over the past quarter century.
    In any case, this is really not a partisan issue so much as it is a rule of law issue. If you believe in the rule of law, this is a pretty clear call and most of the Republican presidential candidates have failed the test.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. Grewgills says:

    @Paul L.:
    Were they legally bound to defend those laws?
    Is Davis legally bound to issue marriage licenses?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. al-Ameda says:

    @alanstorm:

    Nice try. However, a better example is The Won’s arbitrary “adjustments” to Obamacare, and Hillary’s flagrant disregard of the law re: secure communications via email.

    “The Won”? Did your mom help you with that?

    Seriously, has Hillary been convicted of anything regarding her email communications? Is she now subject to a court order that she is ignoring?

    Has a court found that Obama acted unconstitutionally with respect to ACA, and if so, did Obama ignore that order?

    Try harder, you may find actual, legitimate analogies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. anjin-san says:

    Hey Jenos – you’ve gotten pretty quite about your man-crush George Zimmerman… You know, the guy you said was not a bigot – who tweets about Obama being a “baboon” while using a confederate flag as his avatar. The guy who you said is not a sociopath – who is crowing publicly about how people should “remember what happened to the last guy who hit me”…

    You can tell a lot about someone by looking at the people they choose to champion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. PJ says:

    @alanstorm:

    The Won

    Yes, he’s the Won.

    He won in 2008, and then he won again in 2012.
    Some other wins would be Obamacare, same sex marriage, and the Iran deal. And so on. So much win with Obama.

    So, clearly he’s “the Won”.

    I haven’t enjoyed an homophone error as much as the one I presume you made here in quite a while. Thank you.

    Edit: Oh, crap. al-Ameda beat me to pointing out your error. :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. MarkedMan says:

    Unfortunately, I think this has deeper, and more desperate, meaning than simply that these specific candidates are pandering. I think it is confirmation that the modern Republican party simply does not act as if they could be in charge. Someone behaves in a way that would bring disaster to the rule of law if it became widespread? What? Who? Where? All they care about is whether they score points against their imagined opposition. The modern Republican party has actively disdained actually governing. I find James Joyner the most fascinating character in all this. He knows this. He knows the Republicans have sold the US down the river for the sake of a few votes. He knows that what they are doing actually harms the country he has pledged to defend. He knows that the modern Republican party marches in lockstep over the precipice. But he cannot bring himself to vote against his “team”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Hey Jenos – you’ve gotten pretty quite about your man-crush George Zimmerman… You know, the guy you said was not a bigot

    Blow it out your ass, you lying crapweasel. I never “championed” Zimmerman, I just pointed out how your left-wing lynch mob was based on unfounded speculations, assumptions, lies, and outright fabrications.

    And back on topic… Newsom (and the rest of the other officials who issued gay marriage licenses prematurely) knew that they were breaking the law, and did it anyway. That they backed down when challenged showed that they had no courage behind their convictions.

    And executives like Brown and Obama have a way of expressing their opinion on what they consider “bad laws.” It’s called a “veto.” (Look it up.)

    But if this is the new precedent — don’t like a law? Get someone to challenge it in court, then refuse to argue for it — then I can’t wait for a Republican president who can use this as part of their arsenal. For example, a legal challenge to ObamaCare has great potential. We already have the precedent that the states don’t have standing to fight it, so there goes that one.

    Hell, the EPA has been doing it for the past few years. Let them continue — but swap out the environmentalists with industry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    then I can’t wait for a Republican president who can use this as part of their arsenal.

    Oh no! We never thought of that! Man, the next conceivable time there’ll be a Republican president — by my count, no earlier than 2029 — we might be in trouble!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “Blow it out your ass, you lying crapweasel. I never “championed” Zimmerman, I just pointed out how your left-wing lynch mob was based on unfounded speculations, assumptions, lies, and outright fabrications.”

    9,000 times a day, every day for months.

    You can’t believe anyone actually believes you when you say this. I know you are the single least self-aware human being on the internet, but this is too much even for you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. bill says:

    davis is a democrat- did hillary comment on her position? what about bernie- did he disavow his
    brethren?
    i know fiorina didn’t support her actions- but who really cares as it’s a democrat issue there……

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. Grewgills says:

    @bill:
    I think we all know where Hillary and Bernie stand on this matter. We also know where all of the republican candidates stand on this matter. With the notable exception of Fiorina, almost all of them are standing with Davis against the rule of law and against equal treatment of same sex couples.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  36. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: With all those thousands of examples at your fingertips, I’m sure you can find a couple in just a few seconds.

    But you won’t, of course. When challenged to “put up or shut up,” you are constitutionally incapable of doing either.

    A pathetic trait you share with several other of the infestations around here. (Yes, annie, that was a reference to you.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. JohnMcC says:

    @bill: @Jenos Idanian #13:

    There is a desperate need for better wingnuts here on OTB. The Davis case in KY has issues of religion vs gov’t, federalism, generational change and an impact on the gubernatorial race in KY and all our friend bill can think of is — ‘she’s a democrat NAH NAH NAH’.

    Jenos is back and instantly gets conned into screeching that he was NOT — NOT I TELL YOU — championing George Zimmerman.

    Pathetic. You’d never know that interesting issues were actually being discussed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  38. Barry says:

    @alanstorm: “Nice try. However, a better example is The Won’s arbitrary “adjustments” to Obamacare, and Hillary’s flagrant disregard of the law re: secure communications via email.”

    You mean the ones which were not overturned by a court?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. Barry says:

    @Cal American: “Does she understand the irony of using her government position to force her christian beliefs on others?”

    No, she doesn’t see it as ironic. She sees it as her God-Given Right to wield state power.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “But you won’t, of course”

    Of course I won’t. Because I wouldn’t waste three seconds on you.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go back to deciding between Manhattan apartments, since I start my new job on Tuesday.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. KM says:

    The Kim Davis’ of the world are why the 1st Amendment exists in the first place. She is an example of government arbitrarily deciding what rights a person has based on faith, not legality. The ONLY reason anyone is supporting her is because she’s speaking a prejudice they hold dear; if she were turn on Episcopals or mainline Protestants the screaming would never stop.

    To support Davis is to support the destruction of the 1st Amendment. People in office cannot act upon their faith-based whims as they are bound by the highest law in our country to protect the rest of us from their tyranny. We do not ask them to abandon their conscious or religion, only to temper it with prudence and the knowledge that they must sacrifice some freedom for the privilege of serving in government. Those who stand with Kim Davis reject one of the fundamentals this nation was built on and should be ashamed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. James Pearce says:

    It really annoys me that the right continues to beat the “religious liberty” drum when it comes to this stuff. Religious liberty means that everyone who doesn’t follow Kim Davis’s religion doesn’t have to abide by it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. michael reynolds says:

    @JohnMcC:

    I was thinking that if I ever needed someone to subvert a cause through the mechanism of an incompetent defense, I’d ask Jenos. He has a certain genius for loud, flamboyant efforts that peter out the instant he’s challenged.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. Joe says:

    @Scott F.: Perhaps this is a nomenclature point, but any couple, straight or gay, who wants to have their marriage “sanctified,” needs to take that license that Kim’s office issues and head to a religious institution that agrees, in the exercise of its First Amendment rights, to sanctify it. No one at Kim’s office is sanctifying anything – that’s really the point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. michael reynolds says:

    “Religious freedom,” to Republicans, means the freedom to deny someone else’s freedom.

    Republicans – I won’t play the game of pretending they are conservative – are all about euphemisms. One of the many things that frustrates them is that they cannot voice their actual agenda without being attacked as bigots and fascists. For the excellent reason that they are, in fact, bigots and fascists.

    They want white power. They want military aggression. They want an end to uppity minorities, domestic and foreign. And they want a man on a white horse – Donald Trump – to simply make it all happen, without a lot of procedural nonsense about the Constitution or the UN. And, hey, if they get a chance to march in the streets with guns on their shoulders and terrorize some brown people, that would be the icing on the fascist cake.

    Their entire platform consists of euphemisms and evasions and lies because they lack the courage and integrity to admit that what they want is an end to democracy, an end to racial or gender equality, an end to tolerance of Muslims and atheists, and an end to anything that challenges white supremacy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  46. mannning says:

    The rule of law must prevail. If the rule at hand is odious, then work through our system to try to repeal it. A public servant must conform to the rule of law, so if the law conflicts with religion, leave the public service and work for repeal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  47. motopilot says:

    @Joe:

    No one at Kim’s office is sanctifying anything – that’s really the point.

    Yes, this! These are frikkin’ clerks, for shit sake. From American Heritage Dictionary…
    clerk: A person who works in an office performing such tasks as keeping records, attending to correspondence, or filing

    These employees are recording a marriage, not sanctifying it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  48. KM says:

    @Joe @motopilot:

    Well, once you’ve decided money equals speech and baking a cake is an integral religious part of a civil marriage, signing a sheet of paper and filing it equaling a approval and blessing on the process makes as much sense as anything.

    Crazy logic is crazy. The only good part of this is the rest of country is waking up to see just how crazy they’re willing to be and how far they’ll go for the most minor points and victories.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  49. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And back on topic… Newsom (and the rest of the other officials who issued gay marriage licenses prematurely) knew that they were breaking the law, and did it anyway. That they backed down when challenged showed that they had no courage behind their convictions.

    Well, Newsome did comply with a court determination, and though you mock him for it, he did not have the courage to continue to ignore the law.
    .
    Davis as Christian martyr is what Republicans need right now. But reality tells me that she’s just another overly religious hypocrite hack. Presumably, if she was so wrapped up in her deeply held Christian beliefs she would have been declining to issue licenses to known adulterers who wished to remarry, or even generic divorced people, but she’s not seeing any of that as immoral (primarily and probably because, she’s been divorced three times.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  50. al-Ameda says:

    @bill:

    i know fiorina didn’t support her actions- but who really cares as it’s a democrat issue there……

    Carly Florina laid off 30,000 HP-Agilent employees, why would she support a county clerk who wants to establish her Christian religion as the basis for conducting business in a Kentucky county office?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  51. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    When challenged to “put up or shut up,”

    Ah Jenos? Remember when you said the same thing about your Ebola comments a while back? When Grewgills documented that you had indeed made the comments that you were called out on, you vanished from the thread and were not seen around OTB for a few weeks.

    You may be rather feeble minded, but most of the folks here are not. Everyone remembers your passionate defense of Zimmermann.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  52. Ron Beasley says:

    The 1st amendment also offers protection from religion. I’ll admit that I am an atheist and consider the Bible to be nonsensical mythology. There is however some wisdom in the Bible like most religious texts but the Bible is so cheery picked by modern day Christians to make anything they say absurd. They quote Leviticus on gays while eating pork and shell fish. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Jefferson Bible where he kept much of the wisdom but eliminated the “magic.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  53. Grewgills says:

    If those religious convictions were really so deeply held she wouldn’t have had an affair during her first marriage that led to twins and her first marriage would have been her last rather than the first of four. Her professed faith just as strongly condemns adulterers and divorce. She is just a garden variety hypocrite and bigot. This is about her bigotry, not the religious convictions that she fails to apply to her own marriages.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  54. Mu says:

    @michael reynolds: You think he makes a good press secretary for Trump?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  55. anjin-san says:

    @wr:

    deciding between Manhattan apartments

    Still kicking myself for passing on an opportunity to buy a in Murray Hill condo for 96k (with owner financing!) once upon a time.

    Got to admit I am a little jealous, living in NYC sounds like a blast…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  56. anjin-san says:

    If respect for deeply held religious beliefs is so important to these folks, surely implementing aspects of Sharia Law in areas with large Muslim populations in America will be something they support…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  57. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @wr: Congratulations! And looking for apartments in Manhattan? Ka-chinggggg!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  58. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Grewgills: In fairness to Mrs. Davis, her faith came after divorce number three. Her misunderstanding of what her faith calls her to do (resign or follow the law) is a separate issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  59. Zachriel says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: In fairness to Mrs. Davis, her faith came after divorce number three.

    Sure, but it would presumably invalidate any marriage after the first and render her children bastards. Meanwhile, she’s living in sin with a man not her husband.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  60. michael reynolds says:

    @wr:
    What’s the new gig?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  61. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Oh, yes, yes. The law must be respected at all times. Except, of course, in certain key exceptions:

    –Immigration laws

    –ObamaCare deadlines

    –Handling of classified material

    –The War Powers Act

    In those cases, it’s strictly optional.

    For an actual informed and reasonable discussion of what would constitute a “reasonable accommodation” in this case, see Eugene Volokh’s take here. Davis says that she will issue the licenses, just not with her name attached. It would take very little to make such an accommodation,” and it would leave all reasonable parties satisfied.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  62. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    it would leave all reasonable parties satisfied.

    Well, that leaves you out champ…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  63. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    If she had sought that exemption through the Kentucky RFRA rather than refusing to issue licenses and demanding that her employees refuse to issue licenses she likely wouldn’t be in this position. That isn’t what she chose to do. Instead she chose to make a stand against same sex marriage and to do so very publicly. She put herself where she is now by her own actions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  64. Joe says:

    @anjin-san: Here’s an interesting analysis of Kim Davis’s position by someone who actually seems to understand the nuances of employment law – even for elected officials – and the First Amendment. It’s a worth a read, but my conclusion is that her case may be even less difficult, even for her, than it appears. Perhaps someone just wanted to grandstand? No, I am sure not.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/09/04/when-does-your-religion-legally-excuse-you-from-doing-part-of-your-job/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  65. wr says:

    @anjin-san: 96k? You can barely rent in Murray Hill for that these days!

    (Okay, I exaggerate a little. I do have to admit that parts of Brooklyn are looking mighty appealing right now, though. In fact, I’m looking at a place there on Monday…)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  66. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: Teaching TV writing in an MFA program at a private university in Brooklyn — and working for a man who wrote My Favorite Year and co-wrote Blazing Saddles. I really wasn’t looking for a full-time academic job, because my plate was full and I was pretty content with things. But this is exactly the program I would have designed if given the chance, the people are amazing and, well, New York. Couldn’t say no.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  67. michael reynolds says:

    @wr:

    Congrats. Although, will you still love New York in February?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  68. Joe says:

    @michael reynolds: But he gets Autumn in New York first.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  69. Kylopod says:

    @Joe: Volokh does a good job of outlining how the US legal system has, for the past several decades, approached issues of Free Exercise in employment. As a Jew, I and members of my family have had personal experience with some of these issues, and so I’m intimately familiar with them. They are in fact fairly complicated, entailing a delicate balance between the needs of employers and the religious beliefs of employees.

    But Kim Davis’s defenders show no evidence of recognizing any nuance to the issue. The way they talk, they make it sound like personal religious belief is an absolute defense against anything a job demands of someone. Not only is there zero legal precedent for such an absurd standard, it is something they would never accept in practice, if applied consistently. Maintaining their delusion that it’s a simple, cut-and-dried case of religious discrimination requires them to avoid even thinking about the full implications of their argument.

    You can see this mindset at work in the recent response by Ted Cruz to a reporter’s query as to whether he’d support a clerk’s refusal to issue licenses for an interracial couple: “There’s no religious backing for that,” he said.

    I remember reading an essay by the original Bob Jones in which he explained the Tower of Babel story as a story about how God separated the races and intended them not to mix with each other. I thought this interpretation was ludicrous (and it runs into problems with a verse implying that Moses was married to a black woman). But as a matter of civil law, the US government has no business deciding which religious beliefs have more textual support from Scriptural sources. The First Amendment prescribes freedom of religion, not freedom of good religion.

    Cruz is entitled to believe there’s religious backing for opposing SSM but not interracial marriage, but his belief cannot pretend to pass for a legal argument. If the First Amendment protects a clerk’s right to turn away a same-sex couple, then it also protects her right to turn away an interracial couple. You can’t have it both ways. Yet the terseness of Cruz’s response suggests a refusal to grapple with the issue even for a second. To Cruz and others like him, SSM opponents are having their religious rights violated, but anti-miscegenation advocates aren’t, because they don’t have religious backing, because I say so, and that’s that. It is a line of argument that is practically the textbook definition of “preaching to the converted.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  70. JohnMcC says:

    @Kylopod: Having been raised a proper Bible-believing boy in the deep south of 50+ years ago, I’m acquainted with those scriptural stories that constitute the dog whistle that Sen Cruz is blowing here.

    One of the historic ‘justifications’ of slavery and JimCrow was the ‘Curse of Ham’. Somewhat different from the Tower of Babel justification for segregation it supposedly harkens back to the post-flood period when Noah (who had 3 sons — one for each ‘race’) planted a vinyard, got drunk and passed out naked. Poor Ham, the youngest son, happened into the tent and discovered the horrible sight of his fathers nakedness and drew the ‘curse’ that from then on and forever his offspring would be ‘hewers of wood and carriers of water’. It was explained to little white southern boys and girls of my generation that interracial marriage would bring the ‘curse’ on their children.

    So, yes, there is a ‘religious’ rationale (I suppose one can call it that) for opposing miscegenation.

    The Moses story (Numbers chapter 12) is as you describe it but contains a delicious twist. Moses married a ‘Cushite’ woman — meaning from a region south of Egypt — and his two siblings (sister Miriam and brother Aaron) were critical of that. So Jahweh struck Miriam with leprosy, which of course manifests as a white skin lesions. Who says God has no sense of humor?

    If I have offended by spelling out the full names of the Lord, apologies. We didn’t grow up aware of that degree of reverence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  71. JohnMcC says:

    @JohnMcC: Having written the above and committed it to the cloud where it will last possibly forever, some rambling secondary thoughts occur.

    Isn’t it both wonderful and horrible that some of the very first things written — on rolls of sheep skins by the light of oil lamps! — still govern and shape so much of what we argue and struggle with today?

    The things that I learned — ‘the Curse of Ham’ is an example — were thought of by serious people to be a wonderful example of the way that God’s vision of how mankind should behave stretched over every human era to our modern age (modern meaning approx 1953 Alabama) with an embrace that was both loving and unchanging. But how completely things have changed starting with the lack of any embrace.

    And the writers of those ancient books were, in their own minds, certainly writing for their own times and issues that had absolutely nothing to do the very many meanings that would be imposed on their writings over the — what? — two dozen centuries that followed.

    But now my grandkids have no idea of those stories. They live in a digital world populated by Minions and Lego dinosaurs but without legends and ancient truths. Was/Is my culture richer even if it was so completely in error? Damn if I know!

    Is someone like Ms Davis of Rowan County maybe luckier than we know, who have shed our traditional but unjustifiable prejudices?

    Such are the thoughts that drift around when you’re ‘on patrol’ in the predawn. There’s a line from Shakespeare about the thoughts of this time of day being similar to the images that seem to be formed by the early mists that swirl before the sun rises.

    Thanks for listening.

    Apologies for taking up your reading time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  72. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @al-Ameda: Presumably, if she was so wrapped up in her deeply held Christian beliefs she would have been declining to issue licenses to known adulterers who wished to remarry, or even generic divorced people, but she’s not seeing any of that as immoral (primarily and probably because, she’s been divorced three times.)

    So, according to you, because she’s been divorced three times, she can’t be a Christian? Because she’s (presumably) sinned, she is forever damned? There is no way she can find redemption?

    What an incredibly effed-up understanding you have of Christianity, if you actually believe that.

    @Kylopod: I see we read the same article, and both cited it. It really is a good, dispassionate take on the matter, and outlines a fair and reasonable resolution.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  73. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    BTW, to all you “the law is the law” noobs: the DNC just knowingly hired an illegal alien, which might just have violated two separate laws. Go git ’em!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  74. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So, according to you, because she’s been divorced three times, she can’t be a Christian? Because she’s (presumably) sinned, she is forever damned? There is no way she can find redemption?

    You miss the point, Jenos. Of course, she can be a Christian. She just can’t be bishop.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  75. Kylopod says:

    @JohnMcC: The claim that Ham’s descendants were cursed with black skin apparently has a Jewish origin, coming from a midrash–an ancient exegetical text. I was exposed to it as a young boy in yeshiva. I was once even laughed at by a kid who claimed I must have black ancestry because of my supposedly broad, flat nose.

    The most bizarre twist I’ve heard on this legend is mentioned in Tanya Schwarz’s ethnographic study of Ethiopian Jews in Israel. Ethiopian Jews (also called Beta Israel) have, of course, suffered horrible discrimination at the hands of their lighter-skinned co-religionists in a country where the word kushi–the same word that the Biblical Miriam applies to her brother’s wife–is a racial slur that is Modern Hebrew’s closest equivalent to the N-word. According to Schwarz, who learned to speak Amharic and lived among the Beta Israel for a period of time, many Beta Israel accept some form of the Curse of Ham story. They do not consider themselves black, however, but “red.”

    I was taken aback the first time I read this, but on reflection, it highlights the arbitrariness of the conventional color classifications to which we Westerners are all habituated. Nobody has literally black skin or white skin. Describing Ethiopians as “red” may sound weird to us, but it is no more artificial than our common racial terminology. Human skin color is in reality a spectrum of shades that do not fit neatly into standard crayon schemes, and when we describe people as “black” or “white,” we are imposing categories that are relics of white supremacy, which still ends up infiltrating our thoughts and making us think of all people of sub-Saharan ancestry as one monolithic type that is categorically different from “whites.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  76. David in KC says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Since you think that is somehow equivalent, is the DNC the government and if so, what civil right did they infringe upon? Since neither criteria is met, this would be a false equivalency.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  77. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So, according to you, because she’s been divorced three times, she can’t be a Christian? Because she’s (presumably) sinned, she is forever damned? There is no way she can find redemption

    When you have to make things up to support your argument, you don’t have much of an argument…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  78. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So, according to you, because she’s been divorced three times, she can’t be a Christian? Because she’s (presumably) sinned, she is forever damned? There is no way she can find redemption?

    I’m sorry about your reading comprehension problem.

    No, of course she can be a Christian, and a hypocritical overly moralistic one at that, but she cannot use her deeply held religious beliefs as a basis for running the office of the county clerk, and in so doing impose her religious beliefs on others.

    I mentioned her divorces in order to ask if she ever denied a license to adulterers? That would seem to be contrary to her beliefs, right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  79. DrDaveT says:

    @Kylopod:

    Ethiopian Jews (also called Beta Israel) have, of course, suffered horrible discrimination at the hands of their lighter-skinned co-religionists

    …which made it all the more piquant when DNA analysis revealed that they are not merely genetically Jewish, but kohanim…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  80. Kylopod says:

    @DrDaveT:

    DNA analysis revealed that they are not merely genetically Jewish, but kohanim

    Could you provide me with sources? I’ve never heard of this before. The studies I’ve read about have failed to discover a clear genetic link between Beta Israel and other Jews. Perhaps you are confusing with the Lemba, an African people who have long had a tradition of being partially of Jewish descent, a claim that appears to have been confirmed by DNA studies indicating that some of them bear the so-called “kohen gene.”

    Also keep in mind that Jewish identity isn’t strictly a matter of genetics. Conversion and intermarriage have been a factor among Jews since time immemorial, and finding a group of Jews that is only distantly related to other Jews genetically does not mean they are “less Jewish” than other Jews.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  81. DrDaveT says:

    @Kylopod:

    Perhaps you are confusing with the Lemba, an African people who have long had a tradition of being partially of Jewish descent, a claim that appears to have been confirmed by DNA studies indicating that some of them bear the so-called “kohen gene.”

    You’re right, I was confusing the two groups. Thanks for the correction.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0