Kim Davis’ Political Tantrum Over Same Sex Marriage

We have all seen those willful, spoiled children who have the most ridiculous tantrums. They act out in the grocery store over colorful cereal boxes; they fall out in the middle of the shopping malls between the racks of blouses and pencil skirts; they burst into tears at a movie theater; they hurl mashed potatoes in restaurants when they are told no, told to “stop it” or asked sternly about the remaining broccoli florets on their plate.

You see the parents, too. Some are firm, holding their ground. Some are cowering under the pressures of parenthood and public embarrassment. Sometimes, the child truly needs attention or sometimes the parents have simply not adhered to their naptime routine. Whatever the reason, it honestly doesn’t make their behavior acceptable.

And we saw a similar act of childlike Constitutional defiance from Kim Davis, the infamous county clerk from the state “Unbridled Spirit.” Davis was recently held in contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. At first, she was taking a stand against the marriage equality movement, but, in an act to potentially level the marriage certificate playing field, she refused to issue licenses to heterosexual couples as well.

An ironic dichotomy evolved when she decided to stop issuing the licenses at all. She started infringing on the constitutional rights of those seeking to participate in the institution she vowed to protect. The couples who wanted to exercise their right to build a home around the traditional make-up of a heterosexual marriage were not afforded the opportunity until after she was taken to jail. It would be funny, if it weren’t so outrageous.

The reason Judge David Bunning made Kim Davis serve time had nothing to do with her stance on the marriage rights of same sex couples. It was her outright defiance towards the law (more formally known as contempt of court) that caused him to bypass fines and sentence her. It is not ok to just decide one day that you will go against a Supreme Court adjudication. The Supreme Court ruling handed down this summer from Obergefell v. Hodges validated marriage equality and institutionalized the right for same-sex couples to be legally married throughout the U.S.

The ruling was controversial one. However, as of June 26, 2015, it is now the law, and nothing and no one should stand against that, least of all someone who holds government office. Kim Davis had two choices: she could have either stepped down or issued the licenses. The prize behind secret curtain number three was (drum roll please) contempt of court and jail time.

After she worked out her issues behind bars, Davis was greeted by conservatives who chose to use her display of disgust for the law as a chance to do some good old-fashioned political grandstanding. Mike Huckabee, one of her biggest supporters, was waiting for her with a gold star and a cookie, offering support and (of course) photo ops. He also mentioned her plight in the GOP Presidential debate this week. She is likely thankful for all of the support she has been given from the right; but, Kim Davis allegedly identifies as a Democrat, which thickens the political plot all the more. 

Even with all of the political lines drawn with regard to same sex marriage, this is not simply a conservatives versus liberals issue. This is about equal protection under the law, the Constitution and rulings by the Supreme Court. It is the Supreme Law of the land, and it must prevail—period.

So what is going on now you ask? Davis brought suit to keep from having to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. She recently lost an appeal on a technicality, but she is fighting nevertheless. After returning back to work, she altered marriage licenses by removing her name, which could possibly invalidate the forms and would likely be considered interfering with the court order. Meanwhile, back at the big government ranch in Kentucky, her deputies have mostly agreed to comply and issue the new licenses, probably because if they do not they, too, will be fined or put in jail.

We cannot tolerate those who simply just ignore the rule of law; there must be consequences. Davis’ commitment to her principles is something to be applauded. However, much like a child acting out, her “time out” in jail helped her understand that while her willfulness got the attention she wanted, it did not achieve the desired result. Now, she has an opportunity to think about where she went wrong and–hopefully–make better choices.

 

Image Credits: WREG
Yvonne Miller, Esq.
Yvonne Miller, Esq., is a native of Spartanburg, South Carolina. She is an alumna of both the University of South Carolina and Western Michigan University Law School. Yvonne is a consultant residing in Washington, DC. She enjoys listening to music (especially when performed live); traveling; cooking; adorable puppies; and focusing on taking over the world.

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  • Hector

    I really loved the spin you put on this in terms of speaking on the facts. Although a very controversial issue in these days and times, same sex marriage as in any other social libertiy, as you stated, must be upheld. And especially if the laws of our land dictate such. The biggest point in this scenario is the fact that Kim had choices presented to her and she wasn’t locked in a box regardless of her religious stance. She had the opportunity to uphold the laws of the land and opted otherwise. And as evidenced here, those decisions have consequences. In the end I think what everyone can take away from this is that in life, we will get presented with choices and we must remember that all choices have a consequence already wrapped in the decision and in most cases, they can not be separated. The ideal should be to asses and count the cost, because just because you have a political or religious stance doesn’t give the right to forcefully impose it upon others. Again, great read Ms. Miller and keep up the great work.

  • Art

    Great Read Ms. Miller, “future taker-over of the world!” This is the second article I’ve read by you and find your title to be accented by your choice of photo. I can’t help but imagine her as a child just screaming all over the place. haha Seriously though, I’m intrigued by this woman primarily because Jesus is her reason for not issuing the marriage license. You can argue all day theologically both sides of the sexuality argument, but I think there is something to be said about conscientious objections. Does the law of the land have to be upheld if one deems it is a violation of their faith or conscious? One would say yes but what does the law then say about the rights of the one forced to comply?

    Christians have long been persecuted for their beliefs and much of scripture prepares us for the time when we will have to suffer. Kim Davis’s “stance” does make me raise an eyebrow and wonder if she’s gotten half the equation correct OR is she just a passionate woman who read Genesis and decided “those people” won’t get one over me!

    The argument over sexuality and the rights of others has shown the divide that shows itself every few decades over another issue. Two people read one book and fight to the death believing their read is true. If this is a country where that is allowed and publicized as Freedom of Speech…where are Ms. Davis’ rights?…what are they? Can she keep her job? Does the law allow her to the same protection?

    I tink we’ve missed the larger issue and it’s partially our (society’s) fault, in that if you oppress a people long enough, the privileges you’ve enjoyed at the cost of their oppression will quickly be taken away and you will join in with the oppressed screaming “Injustice.” Again, both reading the same book swearing by their read.

    The tides are changing. My hope is that in this decade we will remember the humanity of those we deem “unjust” and treat them with at least the ounce of dignity their pulse deserves.

  • Ivey Simmons Warren

    Miss Yvonne, very good article… Even followers of Christ must comply with the law of the land.

  • Kay

    Love this piece! Such an interesting angle that you present here. Keep up the fantastic work Ms. Miller!