About that county clerk in Kentucky

Although I don’t agree with her decision, I must admit that I have a moderate level of admiration for Kim Davis, the country clerk in Kentucky who went to jail rather than issue marriages licenses to same-sex couples, in spite of the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same sex marriage in all 50 states. After she initially refused to do that several weeks ago, she was sued. Then, a court ordered her to do her job, and when she still refused, she was found in contempt of court.

When she went to court on the contempt charge, the judge who was hearing her case offered her an “out.” He suggested that she simply give permission for her subordinates to issue the licenses. She refused to do that as well. She believes her conscience forbids either direct or indirect issuing of licenses, and she chose to go to jail rather than go against her conscience.

I admire people like Kim, who choose conscience even in the face of strong sanctions (like jail), but in this case, I can’t admire the substance of her decision. The Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states; it is now the law of the land. I support that decision. But even if I didn’t … part of Kim Davis’ job as an elected county clerk is to issue marriage licenses. The problem is this: She can’t, or won’t, do the job she was elected to do. So she has another choice: resign from her position. That should not violate her conscience.

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Some might think that resignation is not fair. But she ran for an office where she can no longer fulfill the duties of the office as required by law. She cannot, in other words, do the job she holds. It’s time to go. And she should be able to do that with a clear conscience.

[Loretto Sr. Maureen Fiedler is the host of "Interfaith Voices," a public radio show heard on 66 radio stations in North America.]


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