·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

Civil Rights

Kim Davis Still Cannot Do Her Job

— September 23, 2015

Kim Davis is confused. She can’t understand why equality is important to same-sex couples. She also altered state documents without authorization and potentially invalidated marriage licenses issued under the new format. This could put the subsequent marriages in legal jeopardy.

Kentucky county clerk, Kim Davis, is in the news yet again. This time, she’s whining about how hurt her feelings are that people are calling her Hitler, a hypocrite and questioning whether she is a true Christian. Oh, and the fact that Kim Davis still cannot do her job without making Jesus cry.

I have to admit, I’m being awfully hard on Kim Davis but frankly she deserves it. Three things spring to mind when I review her latest antics. One, that she is likely guilty of criminally altering state documents; two, that the altered licenses may not be legal; and three, that she is utterly clueless as to why legal marriage is so important to same-sex couples.

According to Deputy Clerk Brian Mason’s attorney, upon her return to work, Davis confiscated license forms and substituted a form with no references to Rowan County or Davis. She also made him list his title as “Notary Public,” not “Deputy County Clerk.” Mason was the one issuing licenses while Davis spent time behind bars.

Mat Staver, Davis’ lawyer, asserts that his client has made a good faith effort to be compliant with Judge Bunning’s order. I’m not certain Mr. Staver understands “compliance.”

Davis said, “I can’t put my name on a license that doesn’t represent what God ordained marriage to be. My constituents elected me, but the main authority that rules my life is the Lord.” That line may work on her lawyer, her supporters, and even the same-sex couples she calls friends (whose marriage license applications she also denied), but it doesn’t fly here.

I’m fairly certain it doesn’t fly with Judge Bunning, either. We’ll find out, as certain couples affected by the altered forms have filed suit asking that Bunning order the licenses reissued in the proper format.

The licenses are not technically legal under Kentucky law. Even Davis herself said she thinks they’re invalid. While their validity has yet to be challenged in court, Bunning has already said that any licenses issued while Davis was jailed are valid. The judge supports the validity of the altered licenses and is backed up by Kentucky’s governor.

However, that does not preclude a later challenge to the legality of the licenses and the subsequent marriages. If it is decided that Davis’ alterations violate Bunning’s court order, she’ll be looking at a second tour in jail. The ACLU filed a motion asking the judge to order Davis to use the proper documents or have the clerk’s office placed in receivership with fines levied.

Staver had this to say, “The ACLU’s motion to again hold Kim Davis in contempt reveals that their interest is not the license but rather a marriage license bearing the name of Kim Davis. They want her scalp to hang on the wall as a trophy.” That one is uncertain how Mr. Staver became a lawyer is an understatement, his logic is so poorly constructed.

As for Davis’ inability to feel compassion for anyone other than herself, if I weren’t a writer, I’d be at a loss for words. Apparently, Davis and Staver were taught the same brand of “logic.”


Kim Davis honestly does not understand why some same-sex couples said that they “finally felt human” upon getting the marriage licenses she had previously denied them. She said, “I don’t think dignity is guaranteed in the Constitution. I think dignity is something that you find within yourself. I feel really sad (that) someone could be so unhappy with themselves as a person that they did not feel dignified as a human being until they got a piece of paper. I mean, there’s just so much more to life than that.”

Oh, my.

Davis, who feels persecuted by the law for being a Christian, does not understand what why us gay folk feel like we’re finally first-class citizens after being second-class citizens for so long. She made a conscious choice to disregard her oath-sworn duties because of her faith. I was born. She wants the freedom to believe as she chooses. I want the freedom to be.

I’ll go on record as stating that I’m not interested in marriage. I joke about Brad Pitt when I write certain pieces, but that’s all it is: a joke. I’m not denigrating the institution, I just choose not to take another human being’s hand and say, “I do.”

However, I had a strong (and surprising!) reaction when the Obergefell decision came down. Other than happiness that those who do want to be married could finally do it, I felt a profound sense of relief. Until that point, I hadn’t emotionally realized what it felt like to be considered “less than.”

I pay taxes. I obey laws. I vote. In many other ways, I am the same as everyone else. Yet, there are some very big, important ways that I, and others like me, are “less than.” Marriage, despite my personal choice not to partake, is one. Equal protection under the law in terms of housing, employment and places of public accommodation are others.

Obergefell changed one “less than” to an “equal to” and I was unprepared for how that would feel. Sadly, the other areas of “less than” are still there; but this one “equal to” brought home, in a very visceral manner, the feeling of being “real” in the eyes of the law.

That is why I don’t understand Kim Davis. Oh, I get the objections based on her faith, that’s not my point. She has experienced first-hand the feeling of “less than.” She even went to jail for it. Yet she still doesn’t understand that this small period in her life is what I, and others like me, have felt every day of our lives. And, to the extent that we still don’t have full protection under the law, we still do.

Kim Davis admits that she hasn’t always been a good person. She admits that she showed very little regard for the sanctity of marriage. However, by the tenets of Davis’ faith she was “washed clean” by a decision and a few words. We are supposed to respect that and not point out her past mistreatment of marriage.

Fine. Let’s do a quid pro quo, Kim.

My past has been spent living under the same human-made laws as you, but without the same rights and protections. However, by the rules of law under the U.S. Constitution, one decision and a few words washed away almost five decades of “less than.” As you were “reborn,” so to, in a way, was I.

You were given salvation and I was given equality (in at least one area). If you expect me to respect your feelings, life and experience, I ask that you return the favor.


Kim Davis doesn’t get why gays want marriage licenses: ‘I don’t think dignity is guaranteed in the Constitution’

Plaintiffs ask judge to hold Kim Davis in contempt for altering marriage licenses

Join the conversation!