10 More Quick Takes on the Jailing of Kim Davis

1) The woman who actually sits next to Kim Davis in this picture is not-at-all amused by the Twitter parody account @nexttokimdavis:

Her name is Melissa Thompson. She does, in fact, sit next to embattled Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis. And she’s not amused.

Thompson, a deputy clerk in Rowan County, said she’s seen the Twitter feed and doesn’t think it’s funny — “not with that language.” She declined to comment further.

This office’s holiday parties must be incredibly depressing…

2) Even Breitbart‘s legal editor Ken Klukowski (who used to work for the Family Research Council) thinks Davis took things too far:

… Davis is claiming the right to use her governmental power to order all of her deputy clerks and other subordinates that they shall not issue marriages licenses, either. Her personal right to religiously object probably does not extend to using her public-office power to order other government workers to conform to her personal faith-based beliefs. To use the military example again, this would be like a religious pacifist agreeing to be assigned to command an infantry combat unit, then ordering all the troops under her command to lay down their weapons and refuse to fight.

When other conservatives are telling you you’ve crossed the line, maybe it’s time to listen.

3) In 2013, Liberty Counsel, the group representing Davis, spent $1.1 million in fundraising efforts (email alerts, printing/mailing costs).

They spent only $105,487 in legal defense that same year.

Tell me again how this isn’t just a giant fundraising machine?

4) Mat Staver, the lawyer from Liberty Counsel, refused to answer Chris Hayes‘ question about whether a Christian also had the right to deny a marriage license to an interracial couple even though that, too, was allowed only after a Supreme Court decision:

Identifying hypocrisy is not the Religious Right’s strong suit.

5) Staver also said to Hayes that Davis was a victim in part because the Supreme Court’s decision happened after she was elected, as if that matters. But again, her job requires her to uphold the laws as they are, not what they used to be. Government officials don’t get to pick and choose what laws they uphold. As the laws change, they must adjust accordingly.

6) Davis is a Democrat. She’s not a liberal, but she’s a Democrat. And yet no one seems to care. I love that. Democrats aren’t defending her because of the D next to her name in the way Fox News inevitably would defend someone if there was an R. Most people are judging Davis based on her actions, and that’s exactly how it should be.

7) Former Oklahoma legislator Rebecca Hamilton suggests this is some sort of anti-Christian attack because an openly-gay judge once refused to perform any marriage ceremonies until same-sex couples could wed.

Hamilton asks: “Guess Who Didn’t Go to Jail?”

She ignores that Judge Tonya Parker let other judges perform the ceremonies in her place (something Davis didn’t allow) and — more importantly — it wasn’t even her duty to perform such ceremonies. Some judges did them voluntarily. Some charged money for it.

In any case, the two cases have virtually nothing in common. Not that Hamilton will admit that. She has a habit of refusing to listen to reason.

8) Can you imagine the uproar if an atheist clerk told Christians who wanted to get married that they needed to drive to the next county 30 minutes away because we didn’t want to do our jobs? Would Mike Huckabee defend our consciences then?

9) It’s not “slut-shaming” to point out the hypocrisy of a woman who marries and divorces multiple times, then says her faith prevents her from allowing gay couples to marry once. It’s a fair point. It’s also fair to note that she probably signed marriage licenses for people of mixed faiths and people who were divorced — none of that set off those religious alarms.

(By the way, I’m not suggesting we judge her for those multiple marriages, either. I don’t know what those relationships were like and I don’t particularly care. I hope she’s happy in her current marriage.)

10) There could be a compelling religious liberty case to be made here. As Vox points out, this could theoretically be resolved even with Davis’ opposition:

… If a same-sex couple shows up at a county clerk’s office to get married, an individual official can refuse to grant them a license. But the official would have to hand the case over to another county staffer, who would then give the license to the couple. The issue is that individual government employees may refuse — based on genuine religious objections — to marry same-sex couples, but the county government as a whole has a compelling interest to accommodate the couple and avoid violating their constitutional right to marry.

What’s different in Kentucky is that Davis didn’t step aside and say she wouldn’t give out any marriage licenses, but instead ordered her entire office not to — even though some of her deputy clerks were reportedly willing to do so.

Davis would argue, I’m guessing, that the problem is that her signature has to be on all licenses, and she doesn’t want to be associated with gay marriages. But that’s her problem. Gay couple shouldn’t be denied their rights because she doesn’t want to comply with the law.

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