A commentary and resource on Law and Sexuality by Professor Chris Ashford and guests
Today and tomorrow are likely to be another interesting day in the Kentucky clerk residence saga. I posted yesterday morning over the Supreme Court decision which effectively meant that a Kentucky clerk would be required to issue marriage licenses despite her religious conviction that to do so was wrong. By the time Kim Davis had reported to work, things took a surprising turn given her refusal to still issue the licenses, resulting in my later post, and a series officious tweets from the LGBTQ community in response. Social media quickly became a sea of bile from all sides. The LGBTQ community are rightly angry.
For many of those affected – those in their late twenties and above who are now seeking to marry – they grew up in any cases in a social, legal and political climate very different to today. Nobody likes someone saying “I don’t like you” to you. Imagine spending two thirds of your life (your school years) hearing that every day from the majority of people. Unlike Davis, you’re unlikely to have had much support. Those of us in our thirties or above, and no Internet, no online community to turn to you. You faced hate every single day. We came through. We survived.
When, having come through that survival we face hate once again, it is not just a hateful moment, it serves to re-awake the memory of hate. The memory of pain. It hurts. When people like Kim Davis effectively say ‘you are less than me, less than normal, less than deserves rights’, it is hateful. When it is someone who is a paid public official, it’s not just wrong, it’s illegal.
ACLU (the American Civil Liberties Union) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky yesterday evening Uk time filed two motions with a Kentucky district court to hold Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis accountable for her continuing refusal to issue marriage licenses to couples in the case Miller v. Davis.
The motions ask the court to hold Davis in contempt of court for failing to comply with its previous ruling and to clarify that Davis must issue marriage licenses to everybody, not just the four named couples in the case. The court set a contempt hearing for this Thursday, at which Davis will be required to answer to the judge for her violation of the order and could face steep fines.