Monday, September 14, 2015

Civil Disobedience And Gay Marriage

The Massachusetts 1994 Gay marriage Ruling was stayed, so the legis-
lature could respond in an orderly way to the landmark ruling.
  While I admire the diligent stand Kim Davis is making; it seems to have a fatal flaw. And this is where the worldview of a Falwell Republican differs from a Buckley Republican.
Buckley eventually opposed blue laws and general "Nanny State" interference with many personal liberties. But homosexual marriage is not an equality issue, because every person can marry a person of the opposite sex.  Homosexuals want an expansion of accommodation to allow any of us to marry a person of our own sex or the opposite sex. That policy decision  belongs to the legislative process, not a judicial fiat. This is where the libertarian philosophy seems to be the ultimate rendezvous of conservatives in retreat.

  Perhaps Kim Davis believes her role as Rowan County Clerk is akin to performing religious rites of matrimony. That mindset didn't originate with Davis. Our churches have capitulated to the courts for many decades and our legislators have even outlawed common-law marriage standing in almost every state (Rep Lee Denny led that fight in Oklahoma about 8 years ago.)
  Churches were never licensed by the US government until 20th century income taxes carved out a monetary incentive to be approved by the government. Preachers were never licensed until the states asserted their power to license marriage privileges and decided to grant "professional courtesy" to  the more dignified among the clergy.
Mike Huckabee found an opportunity in the Davis case.
  Preachers have been told they violate state law if they perform a religious marriage rite, unless they have a state license to do so.
  But Rev. Todd Russ of Cordell, OK has a strong bill in the Oklahoma legislature which is awaiting a final senate vote (it passed the House of Reps, last session). Rep. Russ' legislation would restore common-law marriage and switch Oklahoma policy on marriage to  "certifying marriage covenants" rather than "licensing marriage covenants". That's a more important distinction than it may appear. The state no longer claims to perform marriages, but instead the state simply acknowledges the sworn affidavits of 2 individuals who are lawfully qualified to enter the covenant. The couple is granted the courtesy of an optional signature of clergy if they choose to involve an officiant.
The Kentucky legislature has been ignored by the courts and evidently
they don't seem to mind leaving Kim Davis hung out to dry.
  Kim Davis believes the couple has to be spiritually qualified to be in a marriage. That is her flaw of reasoning about the role of the state.
  She is not anointed by God to sort the sheep from the goats on the basis of spirituality. She is, however, empowered by the state to confirm that applicants are lawfully qualified on the basis of the state's legal code. And that code has not been properly written by the legislature. Instead, an overzealous judicial branch has usurped the legislative branch and imposed legislation at gunpoint.
 The Kentucky legislature would be in they rights to hold the judge in contempt of the legislature for imposing an unlawful code.
  Twenty years ago, the Massachusetts supreme court was a first state judiciary to assert the right to same-sex marriage status. But they did it in an orderly process by calling on the Massachusetts legislature to establish an "equitable code" of law through changes in the statutes. Once those statutes were in place, the people of Massachusetts began filing for same-sex legal marriage licenses.
"It is against my religion to impose my religion on anyone." 
 The devout Christian Attorney General, John Ashcroft - 2001
  In summary, the zealots of the judiciary are as undemocratic as the edict of Kim Davis. She deserves to have clear direction from the state legislature and governor, through their passing and signing of an updated statute. That will direct the attorney general of Kentucky, whom Kim Davis will ultimately have to submit to or be removed from her position.

David Van Risseghem

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