They bussed in hundreds of Christian protesters this weekend and gave her award, but a judge has given Kim Davis a deadline and the clock is ticking...
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was at it again last Thursday, turning away a perfectly lovely couple who came looking for a marriage license. You can watch her in action in the video above.
Federal District Court Judge David Bunning has already ordered Ms. Davis to begin issuing licenses to everyone who is legally qualified, writing that clerks are tasked with verifying that information on the license is correct, not approving the marriages on religious grounds. Judge Bunning told Ms. Davis her religious beliefs have no bearing on the administrative task of processing a license, but Ms. Davis is standing defiant for now.
Often it appears she is enjoying the attention.
In the gay community, there has been a lot of impatience that Judge Bunning hasn't had Ms. Davis hauled off to the county jail for contempt of court. While he refused to stay his own order, he has allowed Ms. Davis considerable leeway to continue to defy his order without consequences, while she seeks a stay from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. But the judge has put a time limit on her insubordination - August 31. Come September 1, Ms. Davis will have to face the music.
Davis' Liberty Counsel attorneys have made an emergency appeal to the 6th Circuit for a stay of Judge Bunning's order, but that Court, the same Court that was overruled in Obergefell v Hodge by the Supreme Court, has so far not granted a stay. If Ms. Davis had a secular attorney, he would surely explain to her that stays are only issued when the Appeals Court feels harm will be done if the lower court's order is followed, or if the Court feels the plaintiff's appeal has a high likelihood of success.
Apparently, the 6th Circuit didn't think Ms. Davis' complaint met that bar.
The sands are running swiftly through the hourglass for Ms. Davis, who is beginning to seem more like a sacrificial lamb being fattened for the slaughter, than a role model for Christian girls everywhere. She is propped up by her Liberty Counsel lawyers, who appear to have latched onto the unsophisticated Kentucky clerk as a useful vehicle to further their fight for the license to discriminate they call "religious freedom." But she has also become the darling of right-wing, anti-gay organizations, who, for the moment, are flattering her as their hero.
Last weekend, the Family Foundation, one of those anti-gay groups, bussed hundreds of their fundamentalist Christian members to Frankfort, the Kentucky capitol, throwing a loud and prayerful protest (photos above and left) as a show of support for Kim Davis. Fellow Kentucky clerk Casey Davis, who was told by Kentucky Democratic governor Steve Beshear that he should either do his job or resign, told the crowd that he is not ready to quit his office and called on supporters to fight at the ballot box.
“I believe that there is enough power and voice in these people right here that we can put God back in government where he belongs,” Casey Davis told the crowd. “Some people would argue about the separation of church and state. When did our state need more church in it than it does today?”
Several Republican state lawmakers spoke, promising to support legislation next session to change the licensing process or to exempt clerks like Ms. Davis who have religious objections. Matt Bevin, the Republican running to replace Governor Beshear, made a fool of himself (though maybe not to that crowd) shouting:
"Clerks' lives matter. Christian lives matter. Religious liberty matters. The inalienable rights of every single American matter."
Ms. Davis gave what was by all accounts a tearful and emotion-filled speech, (photo above right) to the adoring crowd which the Courier-Journal. estimated to be in the thousands.
"God is alive, and he is on the throne,” Ms. Davis shouted to cheers.
They prayed together. The read bible verses. They gave Kim Davis an award for her first class bigotry. (photo right) One hopes they took up a collection to cover the fines Ms. Davis may very soon be paying every day she continues to defy the Court. One wonders if the memory of that adulation and applause will sustain her should the remarkably patient Judge Bunning decide to give her a time out in the county jail, a possibility every gay person I know is rooting for.
Saturday's event did have the feeling of a going away party. I wonder if it felt that way to Kim Davis?
Less than a week to go....