A county clerk from Rowan County, NC has been making headlines the past few days for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. She has repeatedly cited her religion as her reason for doing so, saying it would be “authorizing something that goes against her Christian values and convictions.” Despite being ordered by a judge to issue the licenses, she refused, and is now being held in jail on charges of contempt.
No matter what you believe, what Kim Davis was doing was illegal. Since June 26, when the Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is legal in all states, no one can refuse to marry/issue a license to a gay couple without committing a crime. That’s what the supporters of Kim Davis are failing to recognize- she may hold those conservative, bigoted beliefs, but while serving the public she cannot allow those beliefs to cloud her work.
Luckily, once Kim Davis was in jail, gay and lesbian couples were able to get their marriage licenses from the clerk’s office. The joy they felt was palpable to the crowd gathered- one man buried his face in his fianceé’s shoulder, brought to tears, and one woman said “now we can breathe again.”
Unfortunately, we still live in a country where people like Kim Davis are allowed to hold positions of power. We still live in a country where being gay or lesbian (or any sexuality other than straight) leads to horrible discrimination and hatred. While this was a good step forward- the offending party was jailed and marriage licenses were issued- we still have large numbers of people advocating for the release of Kim Davis. We have people who truly believe that gay and lesbian couples shouldn’t be allowed to be married, even after the Supreme Court decision. That is a very sad state of affairs.