Kentucky’s Kim Davis is quickly becoming a rallying figure for proponents of religious freedom. Davis, a clerk with Rowan County, decided that she would no longer issue marriage licenses after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. She insisted that she could not square that task with her deeply held religious convictions, a dilemma that thousands – if not millions – of Americans are struggling with. Unfortunately, Davis’s decision was not well met. Five same-sex couples have filed suit against her, and she was ordered Wednesday by a district court judge to comply with the Supreme Court ruling.
Proving that she has a steel backbone, Davis immediately defied the ruling. The very next day, gay couple James Yates and William Smith headed to the Rowan County in the hopes of getting a license. They didn’t. Davis turned them away, inviting a legal showdown that could have national implications. A spokesman for the clerk’s office said they rejected the couple on advice of counsel. Davis is represented by Christian law firm, the Liberty Counsel. Lawyers have vowed to appeal the district court decision with the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
That decision, written by U.S. District Judge David Bunning, said in part, “Davis remains free to practice her Apostolic Christian beliefs. She may continue to attend church twice a week, participate in Bible Study and minister to female inmates at the Rowan County Jail. She is even free to believe that marriage is a union between one man and one woman, as many Americans do. However, her religious convictions cannot excuse her from performing the duties that she took an oath to perform as Rowan County Clerk.”
And you know what? He’s absolutely right. His logic is sound, and it’s consistent with the law. The problem is not Bunning’s ruling. The problem is the Supreme Court ruling that shoved us so far off the legally defensible map that the law is up in the air. The government has explicitly violated the Constitution, putting an undue burden on the free exercise of religion by inventing a new meaning of the 14th Amendment (to say nothing of the new definition they’ve invented for marriage.)
Mainstream coverage of this battle lends all of its moral sympathy with the gay couples turned away. One article actually related how the secretary at the court “started to cry” when she thought about the unfairness of the couple’s treatment. And it’s an easy enough target for sympathy. But it’s strange how there’s no sympathy for the woman forced to choose between her God and her job. No, she’s just “cruel,” as the couple put it.
Get a Kleenex for Miss Weepy Eyes over there. Back here, we’ve been crying for ages. Crying about what this country’s liberalism is doing to a place so special and so mighty. And we’ll cry again – tears of joy – if Kim Davis is the woman to finally put right what has been carelessly knocked so wrong.