Davis’s decision violates Federal law, religious beliefs not main issue

Viewpoints Editor

Each week, we explore both sides of a current issue through opposing Viewpoints. The alternate editorial for this week’s Face Off can be found here: “America’s equality agenda not so equal, leans toward popular opinions.

Kim Davis, the Rowan County clerk that refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Kentucky, was recently released from jail.

There have been countless arguments that say that Davis cannot and should not be expected to act in a way that violated her rights to freedom of religion.

Those arguments are absolutely right, however, that is not what is going on here.

What seems to be forgotten in this ‘call to arms’ rhetoric for Davis is that she did not just independently refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses, she blocked her entire office from doing so.

In fact, she refused to let her office issue marriage licenses to any couple, same-sex or not, thus violating state and federal law.

Davis cited her own opposition to same-sex marriage as being the culprit.

Davis did this as a response to the Supreme Court’s ruling to legalize same-sex marriage.

It is absolutely fine that Davis does not support same-sex marriage, it is fine that she cannot stand the idea of her name being on a marriage license for a same-sex couple — that is all fine and good.

However, county clerks have a legal duty to issuing marriage licenses, Chapter 402 Section .080 of Kentucky code details that, if anyone was unclear.

Gov. Steve Beshear told county clerks to fulfill their legal duty or to resign.

Davis is an elected official, and elected officials cannot be fired — they can only be impeached or resign.

Thanks to our friend the 14th Amendment, Davis refusing to issue marriage licenses is a violation of federal law.

Davis had appealed to the federal courts to have her office exempt from issuing marriage licenses. This appeal was denied.

She went on to the Supreme Court which also denied her request, yet when she opened her office in early September, she refused to issue marriage licenses.

Davis was violating federal law and was held in contempt of court.

At the core, individuals can pass on issuing marriage licenses if they feel that it interferes with their religious beliefs, but government counties as a whole cannot refuse to issue marriage licenses if it violates the constitutional right of two people to get married.

Davis was offered an accommodation and she refused — she did not want her office as a whole to issue marriage licenses.

You cannot just cite religious beliefs as a way to avoid the law that the government has been entrusted to enforce.

Like ‘fetch,’ it is just not going to happen, so stop trying to make it happen.