Monday, September 07, 2015

218.2 - Good News: homophobic bigots slowly being brought to heel

Good News: homophobic bigots slowly being brought to heel

On another front, it appears the bigots are slowly but surely being brought to heel.

You may have heard about the case of Kim Davis, the county clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, who has refused to issue marriage licenses ever since the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the one that declared bans on same-sex marriages to be unconstitutional. Davis insists that as an Apostolic Christian with a supposedly religious objection to same-sex marriage, she should be allowed to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. That is, she should be free to impose her own lifestyle choices - because, after all, what religion you are really is a lifestyle choice, isn't it - on those who come before her. That is, more bluntly, she should be free to not do her job while still being able to keep it.

She was sued by four couples, two straight and two gay.

Kim Davis
US District Court Judge David Bunning ruled in favor of the couples, saying that Davis's claims about her religious belief do not free her from upholding her oath of office. On August 26, the 6th Circuit Court agreed. Bunning had stayed his ruling to allow the appeal to the 6th Circuit and after it ruled her lawyers wanted him to extend his stay while they appealed to the Supreme Court. He refused so they went to the Supreme Court, requesting it issue that stay. And on August 31, the Supreme Court refused. Kim Davis had lost.

Which meant that on September 1, Kim Davis had to go to her office and - refuse to issue marriage licenses, in direct violation of the court order. But while she is still defiant, it remains to be seen if that defiance will last and for how long when there start to be actual consequences. Judge Bunning is already being asked to hold her in contempt and there is a hearing set for September 3, which unfortunately is the day after I do this so I can't tell you what happened. I will say that the plaintiffs are asking for financial penalties rather than jail time for a contempt citation but I think that is a mistake. If she is fined, even a stiff amount per day she continues to refuse, you can be guaranteed that there will be cash pouring in from some crowd funding effort or another, potentially enough that she could actually profit on the deal, as has happened to other religious reactionaries who made a name for themselves by denying same-sex couples basic services.

Her argument is strained at best. At bottom, it involves claiming that issuing a marriage license to a same-sex couple is a "searing act of validation" of same-sex marriage which would "forever echo in her conscience" - rather than such a license being, as any rational person would suppose, simply a declaration that the particular couple meets the legal requirements to get married.

And while issuing a license to a same-sex couple would "forever echo in her conscience," her highly selective conscience doesn't seem to be bothered by issuing licenses to previously-divorced people, even though, based on her claim about licenses for same-sex couples she would have to see that as a "searing act of validation" of divorce, fornication, and adultery, all of which were quite unpopular with Jesus.

Perhaps that's because they don't seem  to have been unpopular with Kim Davis. She is on husband number four. Five months after divorcing her first husband, she gave birth to twins. He was not the father. And no, neither was husband number two the father. Husband number three was.

And by the way, Kim Davis, what was the whole point of going to the courts, of crying for the protection of the courts, when you apparently were determined all along to simply ignore the rulings when they didn't go your way, determined to deny the courts' authority and instead appeal to "God's authority" over civil law and oaths of office, which sounds a lot like a Christian version of Sharia law? What did Jesus teach about hypocrisy?

Bottom line: This is not about God's word or "God's authority," it is about bigotry, pure and simple, a bigotry that now, hopefully, will exact a price on this particular bigot big enough to make her change her ways, even if changing her mind is beyond hope.

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