ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) — A federal judge ordered a defiant county clerk to jail for contempt Thursday after she insisted that it would violate her conscience to follow court orders to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
Rowan County clerk Kim Davis and her deputy clerks were summoned to appear before U.S. District Judge David Bunning after she repeatedly denied them marriage licenses, cited her religious beliefs and "God's authority."
"You can't be separated from something that's in your heart and in your soul," Davis told the judge as she explained how the Supreme Court's ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide conflicts with the vows she made when she became a born-again Christian.
"I promised to love Him with all my heart, mind and soul because I wanted to make heaven my home," Davis said.
The judge said she left him with no alternative but to jail her, since fines alone would not serve to change her mind. She was escorted out of his courtroom by a deputy, although not in handcuffs, to be turned over to the custody of federal marshals.
The judge also told all five of her deputy clerks that they are free to issue licenses to all applicants, and also face fines or jail if they refuse to comply. He gave them a chance to meet with lawyers before returning to his courtroom to reveal their decisions.
The lawyer for Davis, whose defense is funded by the Liberty Counsel, a religious freedom group, argued that the deputy clerks can only issue licenses under Davis' authority, but the judge overrulled this objection.
Hundreds of people chanted and screamed, "Love won! Love won!" as word of these decisions reached the crowds outside the federal courthouse.
Kim Davis testified about 20 minutes and was very emotional. She described how she became a Christian and said she is unable to believe anything else.
April Miller, one of the women trying to obtain a license, also testified. She said she voted for Kim Davis in the election and that this was only about getting her license, not about trying to change Davis' beliefs.
In front of the federal courthouse, demonstrators shouted at each other, sang hymns and waved signs, which ranged from the violent — turn to Jesus or burn — to simple statements of support. A small plane flew over the courthouse, carrying a banner that said: "Stand Firm Kim."
Davis stopped issuing licenses to all couples in June after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage. Despite rulings against her, she's turned away couples again and again.
The couples who originally sued in the case asked Bunning to punish Davis with fines but not jail time.
Davis, an Apostolic Christian, said earlier this week she never imagined this day would come.
"I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God's word," her statement said.
Her critics mock this moral stand, noting that Davis is on her fourth husband after being divorced three times.
Davis served as her mother's deputy in the clerk's office for 27 years before she was elected as a Democrat to succeed her mother in November. Davis' own son is on the staff.
As an elected official, she can be removed only if the Legislature impeaches her, which is unlikely in a deeply conservative state.
Judge Bunning is the son of Jim Bunning, the Hall of Fame pitcher for the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies who served two terms as Kentucky's junior U.S. Senator. Former Republican President George W. Bush nominated David Bunning for a lifetime position as a federal judge in 2001 when he was just 35 years old, halfway through his dad's first term in the Senate.
But Bunning has been anything but a sure thing for conservative causes. In 2007, he was part of a three-judge panel on a federal appeals court that overturned Michigan's ban on partial-birth abortion. The panel ruled the state's law was too broad and would outlaw other legal forms of abortion.
In 2003, Bunning ordered the Boyd County School District to allow the student club Gay-Straight Alliance to meet on campus.
I will agree that the jail part is a little harsh , but it seems she was ordered to do her job and she continued to refuse, she kind of forced the judge's hand , because she became in contempt of court. But certainly we can see how this similar situation will turn negative when Christians someday claim that they cannot worship on Sunday due to their beliefs or when churches say they cannot perform gay marriages in the future due to their beliefs.
I also agree that the racial hatred and violence and police violence is really disturbing and getting out of hand. People are very hateful these days and it is showing with the senseless bloodshed in the streets. The fact that some officers seem to be bullying and murdering individuals is proof of the rise of a police state. Likewise the racial tension and violence is a clue that was things continue to decline, society will become unhinged. I think we will see increased riots and protests in major cities and probably martial law at some point.
I absolutely agree Pastor T. I do sympathize with the clerk Kim and I believe she really is convicted not to issue same sex marriage agreements, but she is using the wrong forum. If she really felt a personal conflict , then I think she should have simply requested another assignment and told the person who appointed her to please reassign her due to the changing of her job requirements.
The question of whether God would hold her accountable for continuing in her position to me is the only valid one. If makes me wonder if the Prophet Daniel ever had to do things where people in Babylon chose something wrong, yet it was them exercising their personal freedom of choice?
If someone is a Christian and a grocery store clerk , do they have the right to refuse people the right to purchase cigarettes or alcohol or pork chops? It seems like a similar situation to what Kim is now facing. Though her job description has suddenly changed is it really infringing on her beliefs or her rights? As a substitute teacher I have had to teach some things I did not believe,( like certain types of scientific theories or reading a Halloween story because it was in the regular teacher's plans) but it was my job to do so.
Now if the position said you have to celebrate Halloween or drink alcohol or you must now only eat pork for lunch or you have to work on Saturday or issue same sex marriage licenses on Saturday, then I think it becomes an infringement of that employee's religious freedom and right to practice their faith.
I am not certain where I stand on this. She could have given up and quit her position. Here is an interesting take on it:
Kim Davis went to jail simply because she was exercising her First Amendment right — which no five activist judges can deny, disregard or denigrate. It’s her First Amendment right that cannot result in her being disparaged — and certainly not arrested. And if the President of the United States can himself float above the rule of law, then how can one arrest Kim Davis for embracing the rule of law — her First Amendment right?
Can it be that the “guarantee of happiness” granted to a special interest group, by way of judicial privilege, supersedes the US Constitution?
And so when will we start seeing pastors carted off to jail? Matter of fact, the mayor of Houston already tried by demanding sermons be surrendered. And we have bakers, florists, pizzeria owners and photographers being fined by the state. Not to mention death threats issued against them by the oh so “tolerant.”
I realize you come from a Socialist States T. The State has all the authority and the people, none. However, in our pursuit to separate from your county in the 18th Century it was to pursue liberty. As our country progressed, we developed a Bill of Rights. Contained in that Bill of Rights is the Right to Freedom of Religion and the Freedom of Free Speech. The State chose to trample on her freedom of conscience and religion. What is the supreme court ruled that as Muslim women must display their bodies on demand, should they be employed in a governmental job by a new decree across the land. A group of curious men walk into the county clerk's office, locate a Muslim woman, and say, "You must show us your breasts." She refuses, as a devote Muslim woman, who feels she must wear a burka to keep her modesty. The men will not be satisfied without seeing her bare chested and take the matter to court. The judge tells her, expose yourself or go to jail. She asserts, due to her religion she can do no such thing. She is jailed. I doubt anyone would be against her here.
However, a woman who believes in the Bible and what is written in there, that homosexuality is a sin against God, and she is told as a government employee she must approve, assent, agree, and give sanction to the sin of homosexuality must do so or be jailed, many turn against her. I fail to see the difference. The homosexuals could have gone to another clerk, yet they targeted her, much as the men targeted the Muslim woman in the hypothetical than the wannabe nudist down the hall of the same building.
As is often the case it is exactly the opposite.
No-one has denied her freedom of speech or freedom of religion. She is free to follow her religion as she likes. To use her religion as an excuse to not do her job as an elected official is completely wrong.
No-one has denied her right to think, speak and act according to the dictates of her conscience. However, she is denying others their legal rights.
If she cannot, for whatever reason, fulfil her role then she is at liberty to step down. To correct way would be to fight via the ballot box, not impose her beliefs on others.
Your analogy regarding the Muslim woman is flawed on so many levels that it beggars belief that anyone would entertain it for an instant.
We have to remember that separation of Church and State are two key pillars of Protestantism. Freedom of Religion, speech and equal rights for all should be guarded by Christians regardless of others belief systems. Our personal beliefs should never be forced on another person.
The National Sunday law will go directly counter this and this is why it is the image of the Beast because it is uniting Church and State thereby forcing individuals to obey moral laws regardless of personal beliefs.
Ellen White stated that it will be the so called Protestant Christians who will cry for government to pass a National Sunday Law. The reasoning will be that since America was founded on Christian principles, and Sunday is the popular day of worship, then for America to be blessed by God everyone should worship on Sunday, regardless of your personal conviction. To them this is how God would have it.
If we analyze this situation from both sides we would have to conclude that it is Kim Davis who is displaying the traits necessary for a Sunday Law. First there are homosexuals in her town that have been together for years that the government says can now be legally married. They reasonably would want their documentation to come from their district thus avoiding any possible future documentation issues. While some gays went to Ms Davis’ office after hearing of her refusal, which means they were targeting her, there still was the first couple that went there because they lived there. She was not targeted by them.
Ms Davis is refusing to file the paperwork for all Marriage licenses homosexual and heterosexual, due to her refusal to file the heterosexual licenses with her name because of her personal conviction. However note her personal conviction is now hindering the legal rights of the homosexual couples. Therefore she is in essence forcing those who do not believe in God to abide by her belief in God.
Note, everyone knows that in this situation the law is not on the side of Ms Davis. She is going against the government her employer. Yet many Christians are supporting her due to a common opposition to homosexual marriage. While the Bible condemns homosexuality it never says to force biblical views on others. Therefore in their zeal to defend God they are crossing freedom of choice which God has placed in all of mankind.
This type of Christianity will be the same Christianity that will push for a National Sunday Law even though the bible does not condone force of religious beliefs. Let us please not cheer what Kim Davis is doing. The greater witness would be to ask for a reassignment or to resign. If you are willing to vacate your office to obey the will of God even after years of stellar service and potential for further promotion, then people would gain a respect for you beliefs and the Bible. To refuse to obey the law as a civil servant when your position was not given to you to make moral decisions in regards to applicants makes Christians and God seem like bullies. That is exactly as Satan would have it.
Amen. Well said.
I’ve been seeing this idea being passed around on facebook, etc. with people saying that she should go ahead and give marriage licenses to homosexual couples because of separation of church and state. This actually sounds like we're reasoning ourselves beyond reason, or reasoning ourselves right out of faith in what we believe.
In regards to the US and gay marriage, we are talking about a situation of great evil, and also dealing with the decline and fall of the United States of America here, so to take a purely intellectual standpoint and suggest she should go ahead and issue the licenses because the powers at be ordered it seems to fail to grasp the gravity of this situation.
This is a very complex issue where Satan could stand to gain a lot from either stance. We would do well to humbly remember that it’s very easy for human beings to get confused through intellectualizing things too much – a fact that the enemy of souls is well aware of and frequently takes advantage of.
Satan always feeds off extreme ideas - that's where he reaps his harvest. The Bible warns us against extremes, and so do the writings of Ellen White. It is when you take any point or concept to the absolute extreme that it becomes toxic - and Satan is the author of extreme ideas for this very reason.
Both extremes of any issue are usually toxic, just as highs and lows of any basic blood level (such as blood sugar, for example) can kill you. This is why we must be very careful to avoid extreme ideas of any kind and have balanced viewpoints.
If you take the concept of separation of church and state to the extreme it means that secular governments should have no responsibility to God whatsoever, and Christians who work for them should just fulfill whatever orders they are given even if it goes against their personal faith conviction!
Of course it’s true also that we must avoid the other extreme as well – religion should never be enforced by government - or by church either for that matter, such as how the Catholic church punished “heretics” with torture, imprisonment, etc.
If you want to be absolutist about the concept of separating church and state, saying that any Christian should go ahead and administer whatever orders come down from the state because that should be kept completely separate from their personal religious views - then, by that exact same reasoning, if an order were to come down to kill Christians you should just go ahead and do it robotically while quoting "this has nothing to do with my personal beliefs because I believe in separation of church and state." Then you could wash your hands of all guilt because you are so absolutely committed to the separation of church and state - right? No.
Throughout the Bible we see that while God respects governments of all types, He also has certain expectations of all earthly governments and pronounces judgments upon them when they have reached the cup of their probation (Sodom and Gomorrah, etc.), also as Sister White talks about how God keeps a record with the nations and there is a point of iniquity past which He will not allow them to go.
We are told that the laws of all nations (and basically all civil society) are based on the 10 Commandments. Jesus Himself allowed His own trial and crucifixion to be done by the secular/pagan Roman government and those who convicted Him (Herod, Pilot) were guilty in Heaven’s eyes and condemned themselves by the action of going against their conscience to condemn someone who they knew was an innocent man (and were given special insights about who He was, such as with the dream Pilot’s wife had, etc.).
God did not say “since they’re the state they are not responsible to God for any of their actions.” No - They were accountable to God to do what was right by standards of truth and justice which originate with God Himself.
Thus, there is no such thing as ABSOLUTE separation of church and state. God requires all men to do what is right by their conscience – such as not to kill an innocent man, and other common sense truths which might fall under the category of “general revelation.”
Secular governments are not as close to God as the church, and God doesn’t hold them accountable to the more specific requirements that He does the Church, such as Sabbath keeping, which the church has through the “special revelation” of His Word.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says “He has put eternity in their hearts” and Romans 1 says all men are “without excuse” for not comprehending the attributes of God which are “clearly seen”;
20 “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
It’s true that church and state should remain separate in regard to specifics of religion such as day of worship, etc., but it’s also true that all human beings have a measure of responsibility to their Creator and that when nations turn to corruption and evil which becomes very hurtful to the people and society they will be judged by Him.
The Bible also makes it very clear that rampant homosexuality is one of the corruptions that mark the filling of a nations “cup of iniquity” and nearing close of their probation.
Sodom and Gomorrah were not given a “pass” because they were secular/pagan governments. They were judged as evil and destroyed with fire and brimstone by their Creator God who required them to understand their moral responsibility;
“...turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly.” 2 Peter 2:6
This means that to a certain extent sexual purity versus corruption must be part of the conscience/common sense which God has placed in all men’s hearts, part of the basic “invisible attributes” that are “clearly seen.” Any child who’s been abused can tell you this is true – they didn’t need a Bible to know they have been violated.
The entire antediluvian world was also destroyed for moral evil, which was the greatest demonstration in the history of the world that all mankind are indeed held morally accountable to God;
2 Peter 3 5 “For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
So it should never be suggested that church and state are so absolutely separate that secular governments have no moral responsibility or conscience before God and can be free develop whatever laws they decide to dream up according to their culture.
It is very corrupt and evil that homosexuality marriage has become legalized in the United States. Especially in light of the fact that this country has had some “special” revelation – not just general conscience (such as with Sodom and Gomorrah), the general reference this nation has given to the Bible and Christian God from the very beginning (“One nation under God”), and the huge outpouring of blessings from God throughout it’s history.
And with the background that the United States has of being set up as a place of political freedom and asylum for those who have fled religious persecution in other countries, it is especially evil that the United States would imprison a citizen simply for refusing to cooperate with an act as evil as to grant a marriage license to homosexuals.
These things mark the looming end of probation for this nation, and disaster is likely to follow because we have pushed away the protecting Spirit of God from our country.
Without government and law we would have anarchy; every man would do what is right in his own eyes. This County Clerk is an elected official, she is there to serve the citizens of that county, and if she is unable to do that in good conscience she should remove herself.
This battle, and I say this because I don’t know why a person is homosexual; who would want be that different? Who wakes up in the morning and says I’m going to be a homosexual today?
The battle is God’s not ours. This is why when religious persecution really come, it will come from those who think they are doing God’s work…they will be fighting for God. John 16: 2 tells us this…
….a time is coming when the one who kills you will think he's serving God.
As Christians we must ask ourselves what is our responsibility in light of the direction society is moving.
In 2 Chronicles 20: 17 God tells His people this…
Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you…
What does Jesus Christ require of us? If the homosexual movement is the enemy, Jesus says
You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' 44"But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.…
When true persecution comes, it will come from people like this who believe they are true Christians doing God’s work.
And very soon pastors will be jailed for refusing to marry gays, they will tell them either you resign or go to prison.
And Catholic priests will be the first ones because Catholics don’t embrace gay marriages in their churches.