Whether Kim Davis Likes it or Not, Marriage is an LGBT Issue

This summer when the Supreme Court ruled that marriage equality is the law of the land, I was naive enough to think it was over. There is nothing else to do but go down to the courthouse (or wherever people get married) and tie the knot, right? Sure, some people won’t be happy and conservative “family values” folks will use the decision to raise money and blood pressures, but ultimately the marriage of two men or two women would be as controversial nationwide as interracial marriage is today.

Like I said. I was naive.

Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis has basically become a conservative hero for refusing to follow the law and execute the duties of her office. (Because I guess you can flagrantly break the law if you’re a white woman, but illegally selling cigarettes is a death sentence if you’re a black man.) In a statement released after her last appeal was denied, Davis basically says that she’s upholding God’s law over our dirty secular law. Despite the fact that not all Christians oppose marriage equality.

I’m not interested, though, in arguing whether Davis is a “true Christian” or not. I’m not even interested in her apparent hypocrisy. I want to address the idea that marriage equality is not an LGBT issue, but an issue of religious freedom. In her statement, which you can read in full, she states:

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.

From personal experience, this is not an uncommon sentiment. And I believe that she believes it. But just because something is widely and sincerely believed doesn’t make it right.

Marriage equality is a gay and lesbian issue. Of course it is. When the dominant culture – in this case, a culture that assumes a particular brand of heterosexuality – withholds rights from a group of people who don’t fit the mold, righting that wrong becomes a matter of justice and the state has an interest in making sure that rights are enjoyed by everyone.

But what about justice for Davis, some may argue. She sincerely believes that signing her name to the marriage certificate of a same-sex couple is, in her words,  “a heaven and hell decision.” All she is asking for is an accommodation.

No, she is not. She is asking to get out of her job. An accommodation is an exemption from regular rules but doesn’t otherwise keep the employee from doing their duties. These can come in the form of dress code exemptions or schedule changes. It does not allow an employee to completely get out of doing her job full stop. (The Onion in 2005 illustrates how ridiculous Davis’ position is in this particularly on point headline: Christian Science Pharmacist Refuses To Fill Any Prescription.) A religious exemption does not include the right to enforce your beliefs on others. Despite trying to play this off as religious liberty, forcing others to abide by her personal brand of Christianity is exactly what Davis is trying to do.

Kim Davis the person has sincerely held religious beliefs. Kim Davis the Rowen county clerk does not. She can’t have. She needs to leave that at the door. A pluralistic society doesn’t work if all rules are at the arbitrary whim of someone’s religion.

Davis is an elected official who has a responsibility to uphold the law. As it stands, she and she alone is acting as a barrier between the right to marry and same-sex couples. If that doesn’t make this a gay and lesbian issue, I don’t know what does.

Photo Credit: ThinkStock

66 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Marco C.
Marco C2 years ago

Life is full of novelties. And here is yet another, in the form of Kim Davis. A Delusional, cloaking her illness in alleged religious freedom, elected county clerk by a well meaning but asleep constituency.

Her service is in exposing other potentially dangerous characters, most notably the presidential candidates that have "lifted their skirts" to their underlying theocratic beliefs.

Birds of a feather..........

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Carole L.
Carole L2 years ago

Sharia Law;
Government based on religious doctrine
Women have fewer rights than men
Homosexuality is outlawed
Rejecting science in favor of religious of doctrine
No separation between church and state
Religion is taught in school
Abortion is illegal

Sound familiar?

Jenn C
“It doesn't matter how many laws are passed, a marriage will never be valid unless it contains a male/female pair.”

Then don't marry a woman, problem solved.

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Margaret Goodman
Margaret Goodman2 years ago

I read that the median salary where Kim Davis lives is less than $15,000 a year. No wonder she does not want to give up her $80,000 per year job!

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Karen H.
Karen H2 years ago

From Jimmy Carter: “Homosexuality was well known in the ancient world, well before Christ was born, and Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. In all of his teachings about multiple things, He never said that gay people should be condemned.”
Cory Booker, Junior U.S. Senator from NJ: “Don’t speak to me about your religion; first show it to me in how you treat other people. Don’t tell me how much you love your God; show me in how much you love all His children. Don’t preach to me your passion for your faith; teach me through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell, as in how you choose to live and give.”
And if you want to talk about female heroes, read about Malala Yousafzai, the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her struggle against the suppression of children and young people. She was 17 at the time. The Taliban had attempted to kill her when she was just 11 because she had stood up to them and asked, "How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?" THAT is standing up for what you believe in.

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D.E.A. C.
D.E.A. C2 years ago

I would have accepted the strength of Davis' commitment had she resigned her job. It will be interesting to see if her position changes (or she accepts some of the accomodations offered her) post jail time.

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Robert Hamm
Robert Hamm2 years ago

Very True Ron D. No one wants to change Davis' minds or beliefs. But she cant ignore the law any more than anyone else can.

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ron Dean
ron D2 years ago

It is a LGBT issue...it is also a religious issue. Both sides believe they are in the right. The law has been decided in favor of the LGBTs. Laws are not about right or wrong in the moral sense...they are about legal or illegal. Passing a law is not the end of anything. Laws can only dictate/ control behavior, not belief or the hearts and minds of people.

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Kathryn Irby
Past Member 2 years ago

Considering the gross ignorance of that woman, why should anybody (who are broad-minded, that is!) care if she chooses to Rot in Jail!! I certainly don't! Thank you for sharing.

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Timothy W.
Timothy W2 years ago

If she were being compelled to perform a religious ceremony Wedding two people of the same gender, I would agree that she had the right to refuse. This is not the case however, she is only being asked to issue a legal document that gives two people the right to legal marriage. She doesn't have to condone the marriage, she is only issuing a piece of paper that states they have met the legal guidelines to be married. No one is asking that she perform the service, or attend.

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