On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court redefined marriage in our country. With its ruling came the obligation for states to treat same-sex couples the same as their heterosexual counterparts when they decided to tie the knot. But not everyone seems to have received the memo.
Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky, was recently sent to jail after she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. A federal judge ordered Davis to issue the licenses after four couples, two straight and two gay, filed lawsuits against her. When Davis again refused, the judge held her in contempt of court and had her jailed for five days.
Now that she’s been released, hundreds of people from around the country are rushing to offer their support. Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee helped set up a rally to gain awareness about the “injustices” Davis has faced. Some have even gone as far as to compare Davis to Rosa Parks.
Let’s get one thing straight here: Kim Davis is no martyr. She is in no way comparable to Rosa Parks, a woman who broke the law in an effort to support the fight for equality. Davis, on the other hand, is breaking the law to take away these couples’ freedom. She is not a hero who should be lauded for standing up for her beliefs, at least not when her beliefs are hurting people and not helping them.
Plus, Davis is an elected official. This puts her on a completely different playing field than Parks. Davis swore an oath when she took office to uphold the statutes of the federal government. As a public servant, she is duty-bound to follow the country’s laws, whether she agrees with them or not. Even the president doesn’t get to pick and choose the laws he follows. If she doesn’t want to properly perform the job she is required to do, she should simply resign.
Davis is not someone who we should be celebrating. She has the liberty to exercise her First Amendment right to her religious beliefs. But what she can’t do is use those beliefs to discriminate against other people, at least not as a member of the U.S. government.
Davis is putting herself and her religious beliefs above the law. Unfortunately for her, we don’t live in a theocracy where this is seen as an acceptable action. The United States is a democracy in which there exists a separation of church and state. So while every citizen is free to practice their own religion, they cannot use the will of the government to force those beliefs onto others.
Ultimately, Davis’ argument is irrelevant. All she is required to do as a clerk is check that these couples have met the requirements for a legal marriage. Nowhere in her job description does it say she is to judge these marriages on any religious foundations. She relinquished any right she had to object to that the day she ran for office.
Deanna Ferrante is a Senior Staff writer for the Central Florida Future.