A county clerk in Kentucky, USA, has refused to hand out marriages to gay couples who have got married, less than a day after a court denied her request for a delay in beginning the procedure.
A raucous scene unfolded at 8 a.m. at the Rowan County Courthouse as two same sex couples and a load of journalists entered the building and tried to engage county clerk Kim Davis in a debate in front of the cameras.
David Emold and David Moore wanted their marriage license, but as she had told them before, she wasn’t going to be handing them to ANY couples, irrespective as to whether they were gay or straight.
“Under whose authority?” Mr. Ermold asked.
“Under God’s authority,” Ms. Davis replied.
Davis took over the role from her mother in January, who had performed it for 37 years.
A Conservative Champion
She has become something of a champion for conservatives from all around the country. She is taking legal action, saying that being forced to hand out marriage licenses to homosexuals clashes with her religious beliefs.
On Tuesday, lawyers for same sex couples asked for her to be held in contempt of court, and fined. They didn’t ask for jail time, which the judge could have imposed.
However, Davis is standing firm.
“To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience,” she said. She added: “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.”
Now you would think that she should just be fired, and someone else brought in to perform these tasks. However, it doesn’t seem that easy at all.
The county clerk role is actually elected, so you can’t just fire someone. The State Legislature could impeach her but in such a conservative state, that would be unlikely.
She could be charged with misconduct in public office, a misdemeanour, which would see her removed from office. However, the county attorney has gone nowhere near that one, instead referring it to the state’s attorney general, who is running for Governor. His office is looking into it.
A Tricky Situation
This really is a tricky one. The best option would be for her to resign, and go and work somewhere where her views weren’t being infringed upon. However, she is spoiling for the fight here.
It is a fight she may well win. Let’s face it, in some of these conservative states, most of the public are none too fond of gay marriage. The reason the political will to get rid of her isn’t there is because it would be career suicide for anyone who voted to remove her come election time.
The whole issue between state and the Federal government is a big thing in America. In short, those states who wanted to keep the ban on gay marriage believed it to be a state issue. The Supreme Court found that it was a human rights issue, which meant that Federal government had control.
In the end, it does go to show that legal protection is very different to real acceptance. It will take a long time for those prejudiced beliefs to be removed from people’s heads.
Sadly no law can force that.
Since then, he has specialised in articles on the battle for equal rights for sex workers, sexual health, as well as bringing the readers fun news from around the world. He also has a major interest in LGBT rights, and is an active campaigner in this field.
When he isn't fighting the good fight, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, and young daughter. He also enjoys reading and taking long walks.
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