Kim Davis and the Rule of Law

Yesterday, a woman named Kim Davis went to jail.

She is a Court Clerk in Rowan County Kentucky where it is her job, among other things, to issue marriage licenses. Recently, the Supreme Court invented a constitutional right to marry someone of the same gender, but, as a recent convert (four years she says) to Christianity, Ms. Davis believes same-sex “marriage” is wrong.

Therefore, she refused to issue the licenses.

There have been lots of similar situations.

Businesses who do not wish to participate in a same-sex “marriage” ceremony are sued.

Private sector employees like Brendan Eich, the former CEO of Mozilla, have been forced out of their jobs for supporting the idea that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman.

Public sector employees like Kelvin Cochran, the former fire chief from Atlanta, have been fired for those same beliefs without any accusation of mistreating employees or discriminating against anyone.

But Kim Davis’ situation is different because she holds elected office. She doesn’t have a boss who can fire her. A court ordered her to issue same-sex “marriage” licenses but she refused. So yesterday, she was sent to jail for contempt of court.

Despite the insistence from the left that the redefinition of marriage would have no impact on religious freedom, many see this story as just further evidence of freedoms being lost.

The left, however, has moved away from pretending to care about freedom of religion. They now express full-blown, outrage at the idea that people shouldn’t lose their freedom if they don’t support same-sex “marriage”. After all, who needs freedom of conscience when you can have tolerance and equality?

In Kim Davis’ case, however, their outrage is a little different. They aren’t simply outraged that she doesn’t like same-sex “marriage”, they are outraged by her shocking disregard for the law.

Shocking, I tell you.

Suddenly, the progressives are organizing lectures to remind the world that our system of government is predicated on our laws being enforced equitably, regardless of the preferences of the individuals. Even Hillary Clinton got into the act this week tweeting that, “Marriage equality is the law of the land. Officials should be held to their duty to uphold the law-end of story.”

And you thought Animal Farm was satire.

Of course their point about the importance of the rule of law is a good one. But given the context of the Kim Davis controversy, it seems a brief lesson in the history of same-sex “marriage” is in order.

  • Once President Obama finished his evolution on marriage, the U.S. Department of Justice, whose job it is to defend the laws of the United States in Court, refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.
  • In 2013, D. Bruce Haines, an official in Montgomery County Pennsylvania, started issuing same-sex “marriage” licenses when the law did not permit it.
Apparently the concern with strict adherence to marriage laws is a new passion of progressives.

“We’ve progressed,” they insist. “The law has changed to be good so we care about the rule of law now.”

About that.

Let’s remember how this new “law” was actually changed. Was it lawful?

The states did not come together with Congress in the constitutionally prescribed manner to amend the constitution and change the law for the whole nation. While a few states actually did use the democratic process to redefine marriage, the vast majority (thirty-eight) had a new definition forced upon them by judges who liked the new definition better than the old one.

When the Supreme Court invented a constitutional right to marry someone of the same gender in Obergefell, they overturned their own precedent from Windsor less than two years previously when they said states had the right to define marriage for themselves.

Whatever that is, it’s not the rule of law.

It’s not just about marriage laws either.

Did you know that it’s illegal for teachers to strike in Washington State? Doesn’t seem to stop them.

Or how about sanctuary cities who advertise the fact that they ignore state and federal laws on immigration?

The Supreme Court did what they thought was the right thing to do despite what the law said and Kim Davis is doing the same. Kim Davis is no more lawless than half of Washington DC, she just has less powerful friends.

We may have never fully left the world in which might makes right, but our desire to bear-hug might, because we like what it is doing so much, seems to be a new impulse.

Love or hate the result, but be intellectually honest enough to lose the indignation.

If you punch someone in the face, you may end up winning the fight. But no one is going to take you seriously if you ask, “How could you?” when they try to punch you back.

35 replies
  1. Arthur
    Arthur says:

    Hello, I was wondering if there is a link on this website where I can donate money to help Kim Davis with legal fees?
    With money that homosexuals spend on their propaganda she doesn’t have a chance to survive this without our help.

    Reply
  2. Ann
    Ann says:

    I’m in agreement that we should pray for Kim Davis and all leaders living out their integrity. We live in strange times.
    Lets support speaking the truth in love as much as it is possible. I am glad Kim Davis stood up for what she believed in marriage is between a man and a woman.

    Reply
  3. Bob B
    Bob B says:

    Kim Davis swore these oaths before God:

    “I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States…so help me God.
    …and that I will not knowingly or willingly commit any malfeasance of office, and will faithfully execute the duties of my office without favor, affection or partiality, so help me God.”
    She is an oath breaker violaring her oaths to the government she chose to represent and to God.

    She has been corrected, she refused to abide by a court order and is in jail because of that.

    Emotional arguments like Joseph’s might gather dollars but it won’t change the facts.
    Fortunately now the office is working legally without Kim, may it continue to do so.

    Reply
    • Saint John the Baptist
      Saint John the Baptist says:

      God does the final correcting, not man. Mr. Backholm is not in the business of making money. What is ‘fortunate’ about celebrating sinful behavior? By the way, the Constitution says nothing about marriage. Check out the 10th Amendment to the Bill of Rights.

      Reply
    • jules g
      jules g says:

      Once you add the phrase so help me God, you must evaluate the issue by His standard. On an issue like this, when the view if the world and God’s view differ then the world is wrong…Always.

      Reply
    • ChristianC
      ChristianC says:

      There are those who advocate for Kim Davis to cease and desist from refusing to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples. After all, such marriages are now the law of the land. Shouldn’t a law be obeyed, notwithstanding a county clerk personal misgivings about such law? Many people think so. Where do we go from there?

      Indeed, human society, at the local, national and even international level, does condone obedience to the law in general. To the extent that people and nations greatly benefit from an orderly society, this position makes overwhelming sense. That’s the reason why you and I are expected, say, to obey the speed limit on the freeway.

      But what of laws, or simply orders received from superiors, mandating that a person commit acts contrary to human decency? Should they be obeyed?

      At the Nuremberg trial, following World War II, high ranking Nazi officials argued that they were not legally responsible for their actions, such as sending millions of innocents to the infamous gas chambers, when those actions resulted from “following orders”.

      The Nuremberg tribunal did not buy it. And neither should we. Clearly, immoral, inhuman or evil actions should never be obeyed no matter what the circumstances.

      What of the moral law?

      Two thousand years ago a small group of ex-fishermen were ordered by the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem never again to preach in the Name of a former carpenter who earlier had been executed like a common criminal by nailing Him on a cross. Their answer? “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than to God”? Clearly, human orders that defied God’s law were to be disobeyed without hesitation.

      And so it is with Kim Davis’ refusal. The decision of the Nuremberg court sets a precedent for her refusal to obey a court order which is both immoral and short sighted. The Bible, on the other hand, makes it crystal clear that human beings have an obligation to disobey society’s law when it conflicts, as it so often does, with God’s law. That’s good enough for me. And clearly it is good enough for Kim Davis. Good for her!

      Reply
  4. Sharon
    Sharon says:

    What’s next? Can a public teachers be dismissed because they comment that they’re glad they were raised by their biological mother and father? We still need a male and female to make kids…a fact that is the ignored elephant in the room. If a public employee praises the old fashioned method of parenthood, is this going to be unlawful? Is the liberty of recreation sex between same sex couples now the supreme right in our country? There is no other way to look at it since it has clearly trumped our cherished 1st Amendment rights. Tragic for all, though many will never admit it. Sharon

    Reply
  5. Robert B. Howig
    Robert B. Howig says:

    I am a Liberal, but I appreciate Stuart Shephard and others who produce the comments on CitizenLink, and in fact I share some of their positions. I don’t want to fight; I just want to tell you that I think this analysis is thoroughly unpersuasive. The horse is out, you say, “so look at all the other horses that are out”. “The barndoor has been unlocked for a long time,” you say, “so just look how many other horses could have escaped if there had been other horses in that barn. Oh, and the barn should have been built stronger anyway, whether it was left unlocked or not.” You are constantly playing the role of the sanctimonious prig, who knows more than anybody in the class. Consequently, you win the argument when you frame the argument in your terms, but nobody much cares because you have shown yourself to be nothing but a silver-tongued jerk. Nice goes a long way. Pres. Reagan was just as Conservative as you, but he was nice.

    Reply
    • Joseph Backholm
      Joseph Backholm says:

      Thank you for the comment, Robert. I agree with you that nice goes a long way and its actually some thing I strive for. I think its possible that the tone in my head when i write things is perceived differently by the reader, and while I try to be aware of that I obviously fail at times. I will probably always employ sarcasm at some level, which I know is dangerous. But I try to do so in ways that will make difficult and sometimes complicated issues engaging. To the extent I seem sanctimonious or priggish instead, please forgive me. It’s the furthest thing from my intention. But I do appreciate you sharing your thoughts. Its the only way I can learn. Glad you are a reader, even if you dont always love it.

      Reply
      • Robert B. Howig
        Robert B. Howig says:

        I’m glad I screwed my courage to the sticking place and wrote what I wrote, though I too always run the risk of sounding mad. If I were teaching a course in “Facebook”, however, I would teach your reply as a model of how to respond to an adverse post–with the idea that letting someone into your circle and perhaps making a friend is more important now than winning an argument. Your original post and your response have made me someone who cares about you, and not only about the issue about which you write. I’m certainly a Liberal in my politics. However, I have written a defense of Ms. Davis on a Liberal site, to the point that perhaps Ms. Davis finds jail with Jesus a better place than freedom alone.

        Reply
  6. Cathy Knudsen
    Cathy Knudsen says:

    i don’t understand how using religion and the misinterpretation of the law is a justification for supporting Kim Davis.
    Was it OK to have a slave in the old days because the State you lived in allowed it.
    Is it OK for a doctor to refuse to treat a sick baby because his parents are gay?
    This isn’t a life choice to be gay or lesbian. It is a scientific fact that the brain makes the decision.
    Please look at the world around us. Atrocities are happening all over the world in the name of mis interpretation of religion.
    If you want to walk and protest something, walk for a cure for cancer, walk for a cure of diabetics.
    By the way, I am a Christian, I am heterosexual and married to the same man for 50 years.

    Reply
    • Saint John the Baptist
      Saint John the Baptist says:

      Cathy: Which ‘religion’ are you talking about? As a Christian, you should know that the Bible clearly teaches that marriage is between a male and female and that homosexuality is a sin. And there is not a shred of scientific evidence that one is born as a homosexual. Laws drafted by men change (example: slavery) but God’s laws remain eternal. Daniel refused to follow the law but was saved after being thrown into the lion’s den. By the way, will you be walking to put an end to government funding of Planned Parenthood?

      Reply
  7. E J Nelson
    E J Nelson says:

    I appreciate your enlighting article, however the fact remains that Kim is not the law breaker here. The likes of David Bunning, and any law enforcement officer that had anything to do with her arrest and incarceration are the law breakers. I have yet to find any law written that tells her that she has the right to break the written law. David Bunning should have charges brought against him for abuse of power and his using his his position to promote his own sicking agenda.

    Reply
  8. Philip Irvin
    Philip Irvin says:

    Kim Davis had a job issuing marriage licenses to heterosexual couples, then her job was more radically changed than if she had been assigned to load concrete blocks. If the government is going to change her job they need to accommodate her in another comparable job.

    Reply
  9. Jane
    Jane says:

    The White House spokesperson (I can’t remember his name, just the attitude) indignantly said in regard to this that the President views “no public official above the law”. H-m-m-m. . . The commander-in-chief must have a a problem with reflective thinking as he has most certainly pushed the limits and then some throughout his rogue administration. Good for Kim, and yes, it is time we were demonstrating. We need to be visible! So, when do we all go to Washington, D.C. and march the streets?

    Reply
  10. Dick
    Dick says:

    We live in Caesar’s world as well as God’s world.

    When a person seeks public office, is elected, and raises her hand and swears to faithfully follow the law in her exercise of her duties, she has made a solemn pledge. She should keep faith with her word.

    Reply
    • E J Nelson
      E J Nelson says:

      And Kim has done that. If you think differently then post the written law she has broken. Truth is she is being harassed for upholding the written Law. David Bunning is the tyrant here, he should be arrested and disbarred for his abuse of power.

      Reply
    • Sue
      Sue says:

      kim is following the oath she took. The oath to uphold and defend the Kentucky law…which says that marriage is between a man and a woman.
      Here’s how the Kentucky constitution reads:
      Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.
      Thus, in Kentucky, according to the rule of law, marriage licenses can only permissibly be extended to couples consisting of one man and one woman. A “marriage” between two people of the same sex is “not valid or recognized.”
      Kim Davis is following the law and the Constitution.

      Reply
  11. Moki
    Moki says:

    Thank you so much for listing the history, or at least a partial history, of the left’s refusal to obey the law themselves. I’m going to save this.

    Reply
  12. Tionico
    Tionico says:

    A bit of history: Laguna Beach, Califoronia ,1969. Some riots had taken place across the country when a sodomite was beaten. Can’t remember whether he died or not, but irrelevant. The homosexual community were protesting his treatment, laying the blame on the incident to “persecution” of the sodomite. Interesting detail they continually overlooked: the incident was pure robbery/mugging, the attacker had no knowledge of how he used his privatte parts. During this meeting in Laguna Beach (a hotbed of the sodomite community) the “leaders” of the “movement” declared that they ought not to rest until full reversal has been attained. In other words, they who were then persecuted, marginalised, cast out, rejected, ridiculed, lost their jobs then they “came out”,, were refused service, shunned, etc…. would become the normal, upright, honoured, accepted, and they who oppose or disapprove of their sexual choices would then become the marginalised, lose their jobs, persecuted, cast out, ridiculed, etc.

    One things these thugs forget, despite their unsuccessful attempts at denying this truth: they comprise something near two percent of the entire population. HOW will 2% manage to gain the upper hand over 98% they did not attempt to address then. Their plan to overturn the status quo came largely from the principles in Marx and Alinsky…. and they’ve done quyite the job of implementing their reversal.

    There is only ONE WAY to reverse this present trend, and Kim Davis seems to be the Rosa Parks on the bus. HER protest led to the shutdown of the entire transit system in Montgomery, led to the Civil Rights mvoement coming to the fore, Martin Luther King and his rallies, and a major “sea change” in the culture of the US at the time. I was theere, I lived through it. I watched as event after event unfolded, steadily arounsing the ire and sensibility of the masses until change was wrought.

    I have no issue with the sodomites and their misuse of their private parts… AS LONG AS they don’t attempt to FORCE me to aid assist, approve of, encourage, facilitate, enable, promote, label as “good” their evil, nor allow or expect my decision to life according to God’s Word to be set aside to mollify them and their perversion. Reversal will NOT happen. Their desire to poke whatever wherever shall NOT infringe upon my right to the free exercise of MY faith. Note well, that word EXERCISE has specific meaning. It does NOT indicate something I hold inside, keep hidden, and never let it motivate or direct my actions.

    Reply
    • E J Nelson
      E J Nelson says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. However I personally have a problem with anyone or anything that rebels against the good and righteous. The scriptures implore us to “Abhor Evil”. I recommend that you read the Book, THE MYSTERY OF THE SHEMITAH, by Jonathan Chan.

      Reply
  13. Jeanette
    Jeanette says:

    The Supreme Court does not pass laws. Did the legislature in Kentucky change their law to allow same sex marriages? If not, Kim Davis is upholding the law.

    Reply
    • Tionico
      Tionico says:

      The State of Kentucky did better than that. The PEOPLE voted, 75% in favour, of a State Constitutioinal ammendment that declares the State of Kentucky will ONLY recognise marriages that are between one man and one woman. So, when Kim Davis swore to uphold the Constitutioin of both the US and Kentucky when she took office, she swore to uphold the DOMA at the federal level, and that Ammendment ot Kentucky’s Constitutioin. Both declare marriage as one man, one woman.

      Those nine unelected and unnaccountable hooh hahs in black pyjamas are deluded when they claim they have changed the law in the nation, or in any state or states. Further, Article 3 Sectioin 2 defines the types of cases Federal level courts can take up, in both original and apellate jurisdiction. Obergefel is outside that range of cases, so SCOTUS nor any other lesser federal court should have taken that matter up.
      This is tyranny worse than King George Three ever dreamed of.

      Reply
  14. Bill Fowler
    Bill Fowler says:

    Once again you have brought insights into the debate over religious freedom that I find in few other resources. Superb analysis!

    Reply
  15. Anne Marie
    Anne Marie says:

    Kim Davis is a true hero. As much as liberals want to vilify her, while aggrandizing their self- proclaimed “moral superiority”, all are in fact COWARDS–unwilling either to view the shocking PP videos of the marketing of baby body parts or to prosecute the same as federal law prohibits sale of body parts and state law requires proper disposal of human remains. Ms Davis is a breathtaking witness to the truth of God’s marvelous working in each of our ordinary lives and the incredible power of personal conversion in these extraordinary times. Ms Davis is a light in the darkness! Let’s pray for her, for her strength and her courage, that she is able to withstand the assault on her dignity, conviction and conscience. Ms Davis is doing exactly what the court clerk in Nazi Germany should have done–refused to participate in evil. May God richly bless her. Anne Marie

    Reply
  16. Christian Courvoisier
    Christian Courvoisier says:

    I believe the time has come for Christians throughout these United States to stage mass demonstrations in support of Kim Davis and in opposition to the recent Supreme Court ruling legalizing same sex marriage.

    Reply
  17. Cindy Vick
    Cindy Vick says:

    Joseph, this is a superb summary of the Kim Davis situation. You have provided your readers with a mini lesson in the rule of law and an intelligent, accurate assessment of this case. I will keep this article as a good resource to have on hand for future discussions on this matter. I Thank you!!!!

    Reply

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