Her arrest on September 3rd and release 5 days later, has gotten a lot of Americans talking about religious freedom and the separation of church and state. Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses since June after the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states, has the country split on whether or not someone can defy the law based off of religious convictions. Of course she has her opponents and her supporters; even garnering support from conservative presidential hopefuls Bobby Jindahl and Mike Huckabee.
When asked his opinion on Davis, Jindahl stated, “I don’t think anyone should have to choose between following their conscience and religious beliefs and giving up their job and facing financial sanctions.
…I think you should be able to keep your job and follow your conscience.”
Tuesday, Mike Huckabee tweeted, “Proud to stand with 4000 + patriots @the #ImWithKim Liberty Rally”
Huckabee has gone as far as saying, “If somebody needs to go to jail, I’m willing to go in her place and I mean that.”
Not everyone feels the same sentiments. Read the following tweets below:
Even Republican front runner Donald Trump disagrees with Huckabee. When interviewed on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, he stated, “You have to go with it. The decision’s been made and that’s the law of the land. ”
As both sides weigh in, questions arise; Did Davis commit a crime by standing on her Christian principles and denying marriage licenses to gay couples? Or is this an attack on religious liberties?
Those in favor of Davis argue her first amendment rights were violated.
Let’s break down the First amendment below:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The first amendment allows you to worship freely and to not be censored in speech or in writing. The amendment does not however; allow you to oppress others based off of your religious beliefs. Yes, you can practice your religion. However, your religion should not interfere with doing your job.
Let’s be clear: this is not a case of religious persecution. No one is forcing Davis to agree with homosexuality. She is fully entitled to believing that homosexuality is a sin. No one is asking her to officiate a gay marriage. However, she is an elected official, therefore she must abide by the laws of the land. Period.
If the tables were turned and the clerk were Muslim and denied Christians marriage licenses because ideologically they did not agree with Christianity, many of these same Davis supporters would be outraged. It’s the same principal.
Davis is not the hero that conservatives are making her out to be, even though ironically Davis herself is a Democrat. She is however, using her religious beliefs to infringe upon the rights of others, which is unacceptable. Regardless of whether you support Davis or not, one thing is for certain, gay marriage is legal in the U.S. That is the law, and Davis cannot take the law in her own hands, as no elected official should.
September 14th will be Davis’ first day back at her Rowan county office. She has been ordered by U.S. District Judge David Bunning to not interfere with her clerks issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. If she does not comply, she will be jailed again.
At her release press conference on Tuesday she seemed enthused about returning to work. Let’s see if she’ll abide by the laws that have been set forth or if her release will be short lived.
Edit: Post originally stated that Davis would return to work on September 9th. The date was changed to September 14th.