Roller Coaster

Kim Davis’ anti-gay roller coaster ride

Kim Davis mugshotI thought it was time to catch up with our old friend Kim Davis, to see what she has been up to.

Since her release from prison on 8 September, three-time divorcée good Christian martyr Kim Davis has been on an anti-gay roller coaster ride. The time she spent in prison for contempt of court did not mellow her, or her lawyer.

Immediately upon her release, her lawyer, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, an organisation listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre, came out with a priceless statement. He reportedly said requiring Kim Davis to issue marriage licenses to gay couples would be akin to making her ‘to grant a license to engage in pornography, to grant a license to sodomize children or something of that nature … that would be harmful to the people involved in the activity.’

Yes, he actually said that!

That’s the quality of legal representation you get when you hire someone from a hate group.

Kim Davis headed back to court a few days after her release from prison, lodging an emergency notice of motion. The motion lodged on her behalf to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals argued all the same-sex couples who sued her for a license received one from her Deputy Clerks while she was imprisoned, consequently her office should not be required to issue them to further couples once she returns to work, and the order made by Judge Bunning should be set aside.

On 17 September, the application was dismissed by the Court of Appeals without even considering its merits, due to a procedural error made by her lawyer. Under the relevant rules of appellate procedure the application to set the order aside should first have been made to the judge who issued it, in this case Judge Bunning.

A couple of days earlier she suffered another setback in her quest to obtain an injunction against the governor of Kentucky, in which she sought religious accommodation to avoid the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In that matter, on 15 September the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded Kim Davis failed to demonstrate a ‘substantial likelihood of success’ on her federal constitutional claims, and concluded that, as a federal court, it lacked the authority to compel a state officer to comply with state law.

That’s two for two – more examples why you should never get a lawyer from a hate group.

Kim Davis’ supporters also took time out to turn on her Deputy Clerks who, in her absence, have been happily issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and called for those clerks to be fired. Not a bright suggestion, given firing the Deputy Clerks for issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples would likely be a contempt of court, and a breach of the constitutional rights of same-sex couples.

In the meantime Kim Davis returned to work and continued her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples – a completely meaningless gesture considering her Deputy Clerks are continuing to issue them. She also made it clear she would not prevent her Deputy Clerks from issuing those licenses, in line with the conditions of her release from prison.

However, reports indicate there may be more legal trouble on the horizon for Kim Davis. Upon her return to the office, she did give instructions for both her name and the name of the county to be removed from marriage licenses, which could be considered tampering with the forms and, if so, could also be a breach of her release conditions.

The marriage equality movement was helped to victory with images of loving couples, and a message of equality and love. The right-wing religious liberty movement now tries to capitalise on the images of a jailed Christian woman in its counter-attack.

However, while those loving same-sex couples were a genuine expression of commitment, and a desire for equality, three-time divorcée Kim Davis represents nothing but hypocrisy, and a desire to discriminate and exclude, making her a poor qualifier for Christian martyrdom.

In the midst of the controversy The Washington Post and ABC News conducted a poll from 7 to 10 September, to gauge the attitudes of Americans to the events surrounding Kim Davis.

Reassuringly, 74% of the respondents were of the view that when there’s a conflict between someone’s religious beliefs and the need to treat everyone equally under the law, the latter is more important.

Participants in the poll were next asked:’As you may know, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that gay and lesbian couples have the right to marry. Nonetheless a county clerk in Kentucky has refused to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, saying she objects on religious grounds. Do you think this county clerk should or should not be required to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples?’

63% thought she should be required to issue the marriage licenses.

Finally, they were asked: ‘Do you think this county clerk should or should not be required to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples?’

Again, 63% responded saying she should be required to issue marriage licenses.

These results are nothing new, as US polls have shown consistent support for same-sex marriage, and the rights of LGBTI people for some time now.

So much for that silent majority opponents of marriage equality keep talking about.

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