Weighing in on Same-Sex Marriage Discrimination

Lawrence Kroll's picture

On September 3, 2015, Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk was jailed after a judge found her in contempt of court for her refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses.  U.S. District Judge David Bunning stated Davis could be released from federal custody if she complied with the order to resume issuing licenses in the county. Davis had refused to issue marriage licenses to anyone, arguing her conscience would not allow her to do so, as it was against her religious beliefs, even though she had been ordered to do so as a result of an earlier Supreme Court ruling.

While being put in jail may be drastic, I believe there are two separate issues here:

  1. First, public employees are obligated to follow the law, even if it runs counter to their personal beliefs. If you cannot do the job, you should not do the job. 
    • Some examples include:A military officer cannot demand accommodations if they do not believe in killing people.
    •  A municipal clerk still has to issue gun licenses, even if they are pro-gun control. 
    • A conservative Christian (or Jewish) Police Officer must stand in front of a Mosque to direct traffic or provide security. 
  2. The Court must enforce the legitimacy and seriousness of ignoring a Court Order.  The Constitution of the United States created three co-equal branches of government; the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary. One may not agree with what the government says, but must listen to it and challenge it the right way.  If the Supreme Court of the United States says you have to do something, you have to do it, and the President has to enforce that ruling (even if he or she does not like it) and the legislature has to defer to that decision, unless they pass legislation properly.  “God’s law” does not appear in the Constitution and therefore, renders Davis’ actions in contempt of court, or defying authority.