Clerk du soleil

When a courthouse is a circus and the clerk is it’s clown

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that any two consenting adults of age can get married regardless of their biological sex, gender, or sexual preferences. Kentucky isn’t taking it well.

To be specific, Kim Davis of Morehead, Kentucky isn’t taking it well. As a law clerk for Rowan County, she’s denied same-sex couples marriage certificates in late June. When accused of discrimination, she then refused marriage licenses for all couples as a defense. When protesters showed up at the courthouse, she closed her blinds to them.

Dramatic reenactment of Kim Davis by Annette Benning

Recently a video has gone viral depicting two men being denied a marriage certificate by this same clerk based on their sexual preferences, even though they live and pay taxes in that county. The video documents the couple attempting to attain a marriage certificate that they can legally acquire and the discrimination displayed by the government employees. We also see some uninvolved people using Motorola RAZRs as weapons of intimidation, filming the woman documenting the experience.

A lawsuit has already been filed against Davis, and she will almost certainly lose here. Though this specific instance is obvious to most in it’s illegality, I thought the argument used by Davis and a few other clerks across the country is something that many Americans actually believe. Davis said that denying these men a marriage license was acceptable because she was exercising her religious freedoms:

“It’s a deep-rooted conviction; my conscience won’t allow me to do that. It goes against everything I hold dear, everything sacred in my life.”

Kim Davis is allowed to believe whatever she wants because the separation of church and state allows her to. If these two men appeared at her doorstep and asked that she attend their same-sex wedding, clap for them when they same-sex kiss, eat their same-sex wedding cake, and later provide feedback and a quick spell-check on their Grindr profiles, she can say no. Or yes. Or whatever. That’s her decision based on her beliefs.

However, she is performing a function of the government. Her personal beliefs do not extend to law and allow for her to pick and choose who can be provided a service based on what she likes or dislikes. If a belief is that strong, she needs to choose another function of government to work in where she won’t have to make these decisions, or leave that line of work entirely.

Something hypothetical that is kinda like this:

If an atheist employee performed administrative work for a construction company that decided to add churches to their client list, they couldn’t just shred the contracts related to those jobs, not open their e-mails, and generally refuse to acknowledge them. Yes, this employee could perform their job well prior to the new clients being added, but it’s what their job now requires. The employee’s aversion to churches is their personal issue, and the only person that needs to make an adjustment is that employee.

Something hypothetical that is even more kinda like this:

Let’s say Kim Davis needed to have her driver’s license renewed and went to her nearest DMV. After she provides her required documents, she is denied a license renewal because the only employee that can help her doesn’t believe women should be able to drive. It’s his personal, strong religious belief that women shouldn’t even leave their home. Kim Davis of course understands since she also refuses government services to others based on religious beliefs, and decides to go to another DMV in another town.

When she gets there, that employee also believes that women should not be able to drive, and refuses her a license. Does Kim shrug her shoulders and think “Welp, I tried!” and attempt to hit up every DMV in her town until one provides her this service? Does she simply not renew her license and stop driving?

I know the person reading this most likely understands the point without the hypotheticals, but the general principal behind it is a gray area for a large group of Americans. After the Supreme Court Decision allowing a corporation to use religious beliefs as a reason to deny their employees an otherwise required benefit, it allowed the combination of “refusal of something at the workplace” and “religious beliefs” to be associated as something legal and defensible.

It’s my personal opinion that a lot of these thoughts come down to a single hypocritical idea: Some people use our country’s freedoms as an excuse to prevent others from enjoying those same freedoms.

The people who most want the government to stay out of their lives use this same mentality to attempt to control behaviors and actions that they disagree with. I would love for someone to explain to me that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness provided by our government should be legally defensible when they are used to prevent others from the same life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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