Thursday, September 3, 2015

Jail for Jesus

Kim Davis is the county clerk in Kentucky who has been refusing to issue marriage licenses to anyone because issuing them to same-sex couples is against her religion. Today was her day in court to answer charges of contempt.

The scene outside the courthouse was quite lively and loud, with supporters on both sides of the issue. This post has lots of pictures of the crowds – and their posters. One commenter wrote to Davis:
You put your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution, not the other way around.
The Founding Fathers

The result of the hearing is Davis was taken into custody. The gay couple who were the lead plaintiffs had asked for fines instead of jail time because they knew putting Davis in jail would only make her a martyr in the Fundie cause. But the judge asked Davis had received donations for her defense. She said yes. That means she would not lose money if she was fined and thus it would not be a penalty.

Next before the judge were the six deputy clerks. Five of them said they would issue licenses to same-sex couples while Davis was in jail. The holdout is Nathan Davis, Kim's son. The judge was willing to let that slide.

The judge offered Davis a deal. Let her willing deputies issue licenses under her authority and he would consider releasing her from jail. She refused and will stay in jail. The deputies say through the months of this drama they have been intimidated by Davis and will gladly issue marriage licenses while she is out of the office.

Dan Savage finally wrote about Kim Davis. A few things he noted:

Public servants choosing to redefine their jobs according to their religion is an invitation to chaos. What if a Muslim clerk in Dearborn, Michigan (a huge Middle East community there) refused to issue marriage licenses to Christians?
… but that's not going to happen. Religious minorities in this country intuitively understand that to empower religious bigots like Davis is to paint bullseyes on their own backs. So the Jesus-freak goons at the Liberty Counsel work to frame discrimination as a "religious freedom" because they're confident that American Christians will be the ones doing the discriminating, not suffering from it.
Savage hadn't written about Davis before because he knew how it would play out: The case would go to the Supremes (who refused it), she would be held in contempt, and lose her job. Then she would "write" a book (ghostwriter already busy) about her trauma and she would cash in on the rightwing speaking circuit as the persecuted Christian martyr. And it would be to cash in – there's a big pile of sweet bigot money waiting for her.

Savage also goes into Davis' complicated marital history. Doesn't the bible also have strong words about divorce? Um, yeah. But Davis says that doesn't matter because it happened before she became a Christian and all her sins were forgiven. But now that hers are forgiven she isn't going to let those icky gay couples do any (what she considers) sinning.

No comments:

Post a Comment