From Pariah to Martyr


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Kim Davis, Rowan County Clerk, was sent to jail on Thursday, September 3rd after rejecting to issue marriage licenses to everyone in the county.

Whether or not she intended to, County Clerk Kim Davis, from Rowan County, Kentucky has  simultaneously become the most hated and loved woman in the U.S. and a major political talking point on everyone’s lips.

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the landmark case, Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex marriage was constitutional.

Davis, a Christian, came to national attention in late August/early September, for denying to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, claiming that it was on God’s authority. She stated that issuing the licenses would violate her Christian convictions. There is a verse in the Old Testament that forbids homosexuality and Davis has every right to believe and exercise that right. The first amendment of the constitution protects religious beliefs, however she cannot exercise those rights at her job.

Davis is in a unique position; she is a county clerk. She works for the government, where there is a separation of church and state. If Davis owned a bakery and a gay couple wanted her to make a cake for their wedding, she could refuse because of her religious beliefs. Sure, she would not be the most liked woman in Kentucky, but businesses can claim religious rights. But because Davis works for the county, she does not have that luxury. By law, it is her job to issue licenses to anyone eligible and if she refuses, then she should absolutely lose her job.

What Rowan County should have done was call for Davis to resign or recall her from her position because she was refusing to do her job. Because of the backlash she received, Davis stopped issuing licenses to everyone, including heterosexual couples.

What they shouldn’t have done, however, was arrest her then turn her into a martyr for all the conservative Christians who were looking for a catalyst to protest the fledgling Supreme Court ruling. Now, it looks like Davis has been arrested for believing in her religion and not for what she did, which was flagrantly break the law.

No one has the right to reinterpret laws to meet their religious satisfaction. This is why the Ten Commandments have not been adopted into law. Okay, I’ll give you the stealing and murder bit, (you telling me that you’d rather live by Thunderdome rules?) But adultery and taking God’s name in vain? Yeah, if those were illegal, everybody would be arrested at least once for shouting “Jesus Christ!” when they stubbed their toe.

But back to Kim Davis. She now has a massive spotlight on her. One side has turned her into a pariah, with celebrities chiming in. Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee emceed a rally upon Davis’s release after spending five nights in jail. As Davis took to the stage, the popular underdog theme song played in the background: Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.”

Survivor guitarist and song coauthor Frankie Sullivan posted on Facebook, “NO! We did not grant Kim Davis any rights to use ‘My Tune -The Eye of The Tiger,’”

This issue is not going away. Davis was released with a federal judge ordering her to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. However, once she got back to work, she defied federal law and removed her name from the licenses, making them invalid. Two steps forward, three steps back.