Column: Davis is not a hero
The debate against same-sex marriage continues
Sep. 08, 2015
The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.
This past summer, “love wins” was broadcast across the nation when the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. People who were denied basic rights were suddenly allowed to express their love freely. It was a beautiful and historic moment.
However, we are still facing opposition to this decision. This past week, county clerk Davis of Rowan County, Kentucky, was sentenced to prison by a federal judge for refusing to issue marriage licenses. She stopped issuing licenses to all couples after the Supreme Court decision in June because she claimed that same-sex marriage was fundamentally against her religion of Apostolic Christianity.
The federal government ordered her to resume issuing licenses Aug. 31 when local couples brought the matter to court, but the next day, she turned away at least four couples, according to The Courier-Journal. She was held in contempt of court Sept. 3 for not complying with the ruling. [The couples who sued Davis wanted only monetary penalties for her actions to avoid turning her into a sympathetic, martyr-like victim (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/09/04/kim-davis-is-not-a-christian-martyr-the-kentucky-court-clerk-deserves-to-be-in-the-clink.html). U.S. District Judge David Bunning decided on jail time because he didn’t think fines would convince Davis to comply with the ruling.
Many of Davis’s supporters are saying her imprisonment is an infringement of freedom of religion. This argument is a stretch to try to get the Supreme Court on their side. She is not being jailed because of her beliefs. She is being jailed because she, as an employee of the government, is refusing to do her job correctly. When she was elected as a county clerk, she promised to uphold the values and laws of the state and country she lived in. If she no longer feels that she can complete her duties because of the Supreme Court ruling, she should resign instead of punishing citizens that have no right to be punished.
Besides being illegal, Davis’ actions are just plain ridiculous. The Supreme Court already ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. Does she really think that this little act of defiance is going to change their minds? It’s rather immature and unfair to deny people the gift of marriage just because it doesn’t comply with your personal beliefs. She doesn’t have to be forced to agree with same-sex marriage, but that doesn’t mean that she has the right to force others to agree with her.
Even more disappointing still is the fact that many of the GOP presidential candidates have spoken out in support of Davis, [according to The Washington Post (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/lawbreaker-kim-davis-and-the-lawless-ted-cruz/2015/09/04/fd63c660-5333-11e5-9812-92d5948a40f8_story.html). Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said: “Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny. Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith… I stand with Davis. Unequivocally.” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said: “You have the freedom to practice religious beliefs out there. It’s a fundamental right.” Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul also offered their support for Davis.
These presidential candidates have failed to grasp how the government works, which is frankly a bit frightening. They all think that Davis was jailed because of her beliefs, but this is not the case. She is in jail because she was refusing to do her job. Since she is an elected official, she cannot be fired unless there are some grounds for impeachment, which takes a lot of processing and court cases. The most effective way to teach her a lesson is to jail her until she does her job. Candidates in the Republican Party need to think through the situation before they speak in favor of a woman who was clearly violating the law.
Davis has been hailed as a martyr for the religious cause against same-sex marriage. She has become a figurehead for this movement that is once again gaining press. However, the time for this debate is over. The Supreme Court has already ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in the U.S. It’s time for Davis to put the matter to rest and do her job. Despite what she thinks, she is not a hero.