Kim Davis is a city clerk in Kentucky. She has repeatedbly denied marriage licenses to a gay couple, even following the Supreme Court decision earlier this summer. She was jailed for contempt of court for not complying. She is asking for a reasonable alternative to having her name on the licenses. She has stated that she will file them, just doesn’t want her name attached to it for reasons of conscience. So, the common response has been: if she can’t do the job she is required to, why doesn’t she just step down?? I too thought it was as simple as that, as I think most people think it is. It’s just not that simple.
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was enacted to protect the already existing definition of marriage (one man + one woman) so that new laws couldn’t be passed allowing gay marriage. When the Supreme Court struck down DOMA we returned to the definition that already existed – the same (man+woman). What the Supreme Court decision did was pave a most certain way that new legislation would allow for gay marriage, and yes I believe it will. BUT, it has not. No one has introduced a new law yet.
Therefore, technically Kim Davis is not violating any existing law. She is guilty of contempt of court for not adhering to the judge telling her to start issuing gay marriage licenses, but he was acting outside of his authority by asking her to break the law. Even if we foresee new laws coming, we can’t start breaking the current ones. As much as you may not like it or agree with it, Kim Davis is the victim of judicial overreach and has broken no law. She is in jail for adhering to the law. And no matter how you stand on the issue – that should concern you.