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Will Kim Davis Remain Intransigent Facing Fines and Jail?

Will Kim Davis Remain Intransigent Facing Fines and Jail? September 1, 2015

KimDavis[UPDATED]As of yesterday, the temporary stay that Judge David Bunning placed on his injunction ordering Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples is expired. There are several same-sex couples planning to go into her office and apply for those licenses on Tuesday, and if she continues to refuse them, she will almost certainly face contempt of court charges from Judge Bunning.

If anyone asks Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis for a marriage license Tuesday — and a number of couples are expected to, with news cameras following — she must comply or risk fines, or potentially even jail time.

On Monday, a temporary stay expired in the preliminary injunction that U.S. District Judge David Bunning handed down two weeks ago, ordering Davis to resume issuing licenses despite her religious opposition to same-sex marriage. Davis, an Apostolic Christian, has refused to issue any marriage licenses since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June.

“Kim Davis is not gonna back down. If she has to go to jail, then she will,” said Randy Smith, a local minister. “As she has told me, this is about Heaven and Hell for her. The only thing she knows to do now is follow the word of God.”

Said Flavis McKinney, a retiree who led the demonstrators in singing Onward Christian Soldiers, “Kim has testified to me that it means more to her than anything to know that God is smiling down on her and pointing to her, saying, ‘There is one of my children.'”

Davis’ supporters said they blame Gov. Steve Beshear for immediately instructing all 120 county clerks to comply with the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision. They said Beshear should have waited to act so the next General Assembly, which meets in January, would have time to pass a law protecting the religious freedom of county clerks who don’t want to serve same-sex couples.

Because these people are too dumb to understand that the state legislature passing such a law would be absolutely meaningless. This is not a matter controlled by state law and state legislatures do not get to negate the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution because they don’t like it. And the Supreme Court has already denied her request for an additional stay.

I think they’re right, she isn’t going to back down. I think she’s absolutely intent on becoming the next Christian martyr du jour. And she knows damn well that if she gets fined, other bigots will pay the fines for her. And that they’ll donate to a huge fundraiser that would likely bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars for her. And she’ll go on the Christian rubber chicken circuit telling her harrowing tale of persecution to audiences full of pearl-clutching dolts, at a very nice hourly rate. And then there’s the inevitable book that will sell gobs of copies in the churches.

Here’s what is going to happen here, I think. She’ll continue to refuse to do her job and at some point, the state will find a way to remove her from her position. Whether that happens before Judge Bunning gets fed up and puts her in jail (that’s a ways down the road; it would start with fines for civil contempt and would need to escalate to criminal contempt in order to get jail time) is an open question. But either way, she ends up making a lot of money on this.

UPDATE: Well that didn’t take long. She’s already defied the court order, the plaintiffs filed for contempt charges this morning and Judge Bunning has scheduled a hearing tomorrow on the matter. The plaintiffs are asking only for fines, not jail time.

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