The county clerk in Kentucky who is refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples needs to comply with the law of the land and issue those licenses –period. If she refuses, she needs to face the same consequences that any elected official would face if they refuse to perform the duties of their jobs.
Kim Davis, county clerk in Morehead, Kentucky, is refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses “under God’s authority,” arguing that to do so violates her religious beliefs. She is also refusing to issue heterosexual marriage licenses, although apparently her faith doesn’t require her to eschew those licenses.
Davis has been refusing to do her job since earlier this summer when the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling that made same-sex marriage the law of the land.
County clerks throughout state were ordered by the governor to issue marriage licenses to all eligible couples. Davis filed suit in Federal District Court where she lost. She appealed to the Six Circuit Court of Appeals and lost. She appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court which rejected without comment her request for a stay.
That means that while she pursues her appeal of the Six Circuit Court, she has to issue marriage licenses while that appeal plays out.
There is a hearing today in Federal District Court seeking to find her in contempt and assess fines for refusing to issue marriage licenses. The state Legislature could also convene and impeach her. She is also facing official misconduct charges which could result in a court order that she be removed from her job.
No elected public official should be allowed to impose their own personal, religious beliefs on others through their elected office. That is simply wrong. The Constitution protects her freedom of religion, but it does not allow her to foist her religious beliefs off on others, violating their right to equal protection under the law.
She holds a public office and, when sworn in, agreed to uphold and carry out the duties of the office. She can’t pick and choose which duties to carry out piecemeal.
Neither Kim Davis nor any of us are above the law of the land.
If her moral sensibilities are offended by marriage equality, she should resign.