Rowan County, Kentucky was alive with activists on Monday as embattled county clerk Kim Davis returned to work. After spending six days in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses – a decision born out of her religious objection to gay marriage – Davis has vowed to neither endorse nor interfere with licenses issued to same-sex couples. At a press conference held in the morning, Davis insisted that the licenses “will not be issued or authorized by me.”
Davis, however, said she would not stand in the way of her deputy clerks if they chose to issue the licenses. It remains to be seen whether that compromise will satisfy the court’s orders. There is still some controversy as to whether or not the licenses are valid if they are not specifically endorsed by Davis herself. The Kentucky attorney general has said publicly that they believe the licenses are legal. Davis herself admitted that she had “great doubts” as to that opinion.
The legal battle is not over. Davis has filed an appeal asking for a delay in issuing same-sex marriage licenses with the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. According to her lawyers’ reasoning, all the couples who filed suit against her have already gotten their licenses. Therefore, they say, the office should not have to issue any more licenses after Davis returns to the office.
That’s an argument unlikely to reach a sympathetic ear in the courts, but there’s no reason Davis should not be allowed her religious objection. As the sole American to be jailed for her Christian beliefs, Davis has earned her compromise. And at a time like this, it’s important to remember this isn’t just about one woman. By allowing Davis a compromise, the courts will have set a positive precedent for both government and the private sector. We CAN all get along.
Alas, the ball is in the LGBT/liberal court now. Their next actions will prove what this is all about. Do they want equality, or do they want forced compliance? Will they be satisfied with tolerance, or do they want every Christian to bow before their agenda? Is this controversy about the law, or is it about winning a political war?
Clearly, some of Davis’ critics are not ready for this fight to end. A group called Planting Peace put a billboard up across from the Rowan County Clerk’s Office, calling Davis out for her supposed hypocrisy: “Dear Kim Davis, the fact that you can’t sell your daughter for three goats and a cow means we’ve already redefined marriage,” the billboard reads.
Cool. We’ll explain how that’s irrelevant when you can explain how the 14th Amendment to the Constitution provides for legalized gay marriage. So far, the explanations have been rather weak. And none have been weaker than the justifications that came straight from the Supreme Court.
At its heart, this story has always been about religious freedom. And that principle has been central to the formation and growth of the United States. Gay marriage threatens to destroy that freedom. It’s as simple as that.