Yesterday, I watched a crowd of homophobic religious zealots celebrate the release of Kim Davis from jail. She is the elected public official who runs the Rowan County Circuit Court in Kentucky. A federal judge held her in contempt of court last week because she refused to issue marriage licenses to couples who had satisfied state requirements to obtain them. He lifted the contempt order yesterday because Davis’s assistants had completed issuing the licenses that Davis had refused to issue.
Lost in the hullabaloo over religious liberty is the reality that the decision to issue a marriage license merely requires checking to see if the applicants have completed the application and provided necessary documentation. A decision to issue a marriage license means that state requirements to obtain one have been satisfied. It does not mean that the clerk who issued it approves of the marriage. Indeed, the clerk’s opinion is irrelevant.
Kim Davis defended her decision to deny marriage licenses to qualified couples because she objects to same-sex marriages on religious grounds. Either she does not understand that signing off on an application for a marriage license is merely a ministerial duty that requires little thought, or she knows that and she decided to create a public spectacle to draw attention to her opposition to same-sex marriage. I think she saw an opportunity to seize her 15 minutes of fame.
The public celebration of her release from jail, accompanied by the tune Eye of the Tiger, was absurd theater. Had I not witnessed it, I would not have believed that it happened. People need to see her for what she is: a flawed human being prejudiced against homosexuals who attempts to justify her prejudice by hiding behind her religious beliefs.
Apparently, she does not see the irony in using her Christian faith to support hate instead of love and acceptance. She is not a hero or martyr. She is a disgrace.