Thursday, September 3, 2015

Standing up to the Obergefellers

The clerk elected by the voters of Rowan County, Kentucky, has been sent to jail by a Kentucky federal judge for refusing to perform an act which she cannot legally do under existing Kentucky state law, because five majority justices of the United States Supreme Court have ordered that the people of Kentucky must now consider their people-made laws amended by that Court's ukase.

What is wrong with this picture? The clerk is enforcing Kentucky law as written by its people represented through its legislature, not as five unelected jurists in black robes say by fiat that Kentucky law must be.

The Supreme Court's majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges this past June is a crudely written joke. It is a spoof of the law, a caricature of the law, because it does not even pretend to connect itself with, or to respect the traditional boundaries of, the jurisprudence of our federal system. Federal courts have no business "defining" (or "redefining" -- the very word assumes a power they do not possess under the Constitution) State law in local family matters.

And now it has resulted in its first jailed Christian victim.

The moderates (who always want to die on some other hill more distant than this one) say that Kim Davis (for that is the Christian clerk's name) should not confuse her official duties with her religious ones, and that if her religious duties interfere too strongly with her official ones, she should resign. (They can't force her out of her elected office unless they get the Kentucky legislature -- that bastion of State law that the five Obergefellers dismissed as incompetent -- to impeach her. Good luck with that.)

But in this case, Ms. Davis' Christian duty is to uphold her oath of office, in which she swore to support and defend both the United States and Kentucky Constitutions. Although Chief Justice Marshall once famously wrote, "The Constitution is what this Court says it is," that claim cannot stand unqualified. The Supreme Court, for example, could not say that the Constitution requires States to grant no-fault divorces, and I don't believe any constitutional jurist would defend that proposition (at least, not today).

So where exactly does the Constitution say that the States must license same-sex unions? It doesn't say that -- anywhere. The five Obergefellers made it up out of whole cloth, by stretching the words of the Fourteenth Amendment beyond their breaking point. Because if the Fourteenth Amendment can be used to impose same-sex marriage on the States, then it can also be used to impose no-fault divorce on the States. (I suppose the argument would be that States without it are discriminating against adulterers -- who, the ACLU would say, have their rights, too.)

By refusing to carry out an unconstitutional federal order, Ms. Davis is upholding Kentucky law as written by its legislature, and as her oath of office requires. And she gets to be true to her religious duties as well -- a bonus for those who are Christian.

This is not, as the ACLU and other secular henchmen would portray it, "Christians imposing their morality on the rest of us." This is a case of a Christian holding fast to her religion by refusing to cave in to a secular religion that is at odds with State law as written by the State's legislature. It is the Obergefellers and the ACLU-types who want to impose their own particular brand of secular beliefs upon the rest of us.

I pray for many more stalwart Christians like Kim Davis. (Another Kentucky clerk -- who shares her last name but is no relation -- looks like he, too, will stick fast to his Christian duties in the face of a jail threat.) Send all the Christians to jail for setting such an example for the rest of us! As Doug Wilson says in his fine piece about this donnybrook (which I commend to your attention), "If just ten governors treated Obergefell the same way Kim Davis is treating it, that entire unrighteous and despotic imposition would collapse and fall to the ground."

Amen. May it be so.


  1. Maybe clerks and attorneys who don't feel obliged to follow the law ought to do the moral thing and leave their jobs and professional licenses behind....

    1. If the Law is wrong, a Christian person is bound to disobey it. Persecution of Christians is now right here in the United States of America, the Leader of the world in Democracy. Watch. More is coming.This is just the tip of the iceberg.

    2. You mean like mayor Gavin Newsome when he ordered his clerks to issue gay marriage licences in SF before itvwad legal. Maybe you should have complained about that.

  2. With those weasel words "follow the law," SFitC, you are assuming in your favor the very point in dispute, i.e., just what is "the law"? By her oath, Kim Davis swore not to follow the U.S. Supreme Court, but the Kentucky and U.S. Constitutions.

    According to your position, had you been the sheriff who captured Dred Scott in free territory, you would have cheerfully followed Chief Justice Taney's interpretation of the Constitution (to say that blacks were not U.S. citizens, but were white peoples' private property), and sent Dred Scott back to his southern slave master. Is that what you really mean by "follow the law"?

  3. Lisa Coston, I have not approved your comment for publication here, since it violates the rules of civil discourse, and is full of ad hominem slurs, rather than the "logic" you claim. I will respond to these points you try to make:

    "So, using your logic, states should still be able to deny interracial couples marriage licenses, since the Supreme Court decided it was unconstitutional, correct?"

    The case of Loving v. Virginia, to which you refer, did not involve defining or redefining what "marriage" means under State law. The Supreme Court did not have to change the meaning of that term to arrive at its result, as it did in Obergefell.

    "Segregation should still be allowed, since it was state law that dictated segregation, right?"

    Note that segregation was upheld by the Court in Plessy v. Ferguson, and that by so deciding, the Supreme Court set the civil rights movement back by fifty years. And again, it did not have to redefine what "marriage" means to reach its "decision."

    " I wonder how many divorced individuals this 'martyr' has rejected for her faith?"

    So now you're saying that she, individually, gets to define what is a proper marriage? The whole point is that she applies the definition of marriage passed by the State through its legislature -- and that definition does not limit marriage to those who have not been married before. You're confusing the "marriage" that churches will perform with the marriage that she swore an oath to license on behalf of her employer, the State.

    Come back if you want to try to be more civil. We don't discriminate against people here because of their views -- nor do we contend they should be jailed if they disagree with us.

  4. The decision is Obergefeller is so obviously at variance with.American constitutional law and with reality that accepting the decision while failing to see its glaring legal and philosophical defects should be a case of personal concern to anyone who values truth over mere assertion. Our American constitutional structure is based upon powers and rights not derived from government but origination from the Highest Power, with the people granting certain powers to the states and the federal government and decidedly not the other way around: with powers and rights derived from and/or granted to the people by their government. In addition, in effect holding that the marriage of a man and a woman is the same as the marriage as two persons of the same gender is obvious nonsense, leading to an "equality" without rational foundation as the basis for compelling action purportedly required by the Fourteenth Amendment.