Rowan County (Ky.) Clerk Kim Davis has gotten herself into quite a legal pickle for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples- or to straight couples- since the Supreme Court ruling invalidating state laws prohibiting same-sex marriage. She has issued a statement explaining
I have worked in the Rowan County Clerk’s office for 27 years as a Deputy Clerk and was honored to be elected as the Clerk in November 2014, and took office in January 2015. I love my job and the people of Rowan County. I have never lived any place other than Rowan County. Some people have said I should resign, but I have done my job well. This year we are on track to generate a surplus for the county of 1.5 million dollars.
In addition to my desire to serve the people of Rowan County, I owe my life to Jesus Christ who loves me and gave His life for me. Following the death of my godly mother-in-law over four years ago, I went to church to fulfill her dying wish. There I heard a message of grace and forgiveness and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I am not perfect. No one is. But I am forgiven and I love my Lord and must be obedient to Him and to the Word of God.
I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage. To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision. For me it is a decision of obedience. 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. It is a matter of religious liberty, which is protected under the First Amendment, the Kentucky Constitution, and in the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Our history is filled with accommodations for people’s religious freedom and conscience. I want to continue to perform my duties, but I also am requesting what our Founders envisioned – that conscience and religious freedom would be protected. That is all I am asking. I never sought to be in this position, and I would much rather not have been placed in this position. I have received death threats from people who do not know me. I harbor nothing against them. I was elected by the people to serve as the County Clerk. I intend to continue to serve the people of Rowan County, but I cannot violate my conscience.
She almost had me- in terms of sincerity and fealty to Scripture- at "There I heard a message of grace and forgiveness and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I am not perfect. No one is. But I am forgiven and I love my Lord and must be obedient to Him and to the Word of God." However, as someone who is determined not to "violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage," she is probably more defying the word of God by refusing to carry out a duty she has sworn an oath to perform.
It is too easy to say that Jesus never mentioned same-sex marriage or sexual preference; no doubt neither much occupied his thoughts. Better: Charlie Peters has noted Ms. Davis took an oath that she would "faithfully execute the duties of my office without favor, affection or partiality" and notes that Davis has cast aside both Deuteronomy 23:21-23 and Numbers 30:2, in which God forbids breaking an oath sworn to Him.
And it is not "a Heaven or Hell decision," even if gay marriage is- directly or by inference- prohibited by God, Jesus, the Bible, or any number of members of clergy. It is not- by her own criterion, Scripture- a heaven or hell decision. Whether Davis is concerned with salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9), justification (Galatians 2:16), or righteousness (Titus 3:5) (related, but not synonymous, concepts), her case is undermined by the Bible she cites as her rationale.
In her statement, Davis cited "conscience" four times and one presidential contender (video below) claims she is displaying "courage" and "conviction." But as Sean Illing of Salon wrote
Her “conscience” is irrelevant because she’s a public official with legal responsibilities that trump her personal beliefs. If she doesn’t want to do her job, the solution is simple: resign. No one has compelled her to serve as county clerk, after all. This isn’t a theocracy and her views on “Heaven and Hell” are immaterial. This is a legal or not legal decision, and she’s clearly breaking the law
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