Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis continues to defy federal court orders to issue marriage licenses to two gay and two straight couples. Their attorney, Joe Dunman, joins us on today's BradCast for a fascinating discussion of the case, how we got here, and where it all goes from here.
"To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience," the elected County Clerk said in a statement today following the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal yesterday to hear Davis' application for an "asylum of conscience" and her own refusal, once again today, to issue licenses.
"It is a Heaven or Hell decision," she adds. Guess which one she's choosing?
Dunman, who also represented the Kentucky couples in SCOTUS' landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case that declared marriage equality a fundamental right in all 50 states, tells me that Davis is not required to actually perform any marriages. "She's not obligated to solemnize a marriage at all. The only thing she has to do is stamp her name on the documents that are filed with the state."
"In her arguments so far, she claims that [by] putting her name on it, she is 'authorizing and blessing' those marriages." But the U.S. District Court Judge (as well as the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and now the U.S. Supreme Court) "disagreed, and said 'look, you're just certifying that they meet the legal standards, that they're eligible for marriage licenses --- that's all you're doing. You're not blessing anything. For that reason she doesn't have a religious objection. Not to mention that there's no case law to support the idea that public officials have religious rights that trump the civil rights of other people."
"Extending her logic outward, there's really no end to what a public official could do. All they'd have to claim that they sincerely believe something, and they just do it," Dunman explains. "I want people to imagine a Muslim clerk in Kentucky denying licenses to Christian couples as they walk in the door, and whether or not people would be standing up for 'religious freedom.'"
The attorney also notes that Kentucky's Republican Gubernatorial candidate, Matt Bevin, "has come out strongly in her support" for Davis, who is actually a Democrat, "going so far as to say 'Clerks Lives Matter' during a rally in her favor."
Also on today's BradCast: Reverberations following yesterday's interview with Beth Clarkson, the Kansas statistician who believes she's found evidence of "voting machine manipulation", but is being blocked by KS Sec. of State Kris Kobach from examining the e-voting system's paper audit logs from the 2014 election.
Plus: A crazy case of "voter suppression" --- of a very bizarre sort --- in Columbia, Missouri; Alabama's plans to shut down 45 of its 49 driver's license offices (despite the state's strict Photo ID voting restriction law); and Obama makes an impassioned plea for action on climate change up in the Arctic...
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