Friday, September 04, 2015

Time to follow the money

Rowan County Senior High School Band.  I dunno; I just like high school bands.

This has now turned into farce:

With Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in jail on civil contempt charges for defying a judge's order to resume issuing licenses, deputy clerk Brian Mason ended the office's two-month license ban by politely serving Yates and Smith on Friday, even congratulating them and shaking their hands afterward.

Hours later, however, attorneys for Davis said the marriage licenses issued by her office Friday were void because only Davis has the authority to authorize a marriage license and she refuses to do so.

"They are not being issued under the authority of the Rowan County clerk's office. They are not worth the paper that they are written on," said attorney Mat Staver after meeting with Davis in the Carter County jail in Grayson.

Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins has previously dismissed that argument, saying deputy clerks can issue valid marriage licenses without the approval of their boss.

Marriage equality protesters shouted "Love won!" outside the Rowan County courthouse as Yates and Smith emerged. Across the sidewalk, a crowd of people who support Kim Davis stood mutely, save for one man screaming quotes from the Bible about Sodom and Gomorrah.
Do they think they're scaring people with that line?  Do they plan to sue them for living in sin?  Do they imagine this is really a 40's madcap comedy (marriage and bigamy are surprisingly common topics in '40's comedies.  Somebody oughta do a study....)?

These are the legal geniuses who lost their case from the trial court to the Supreme Court, and now they threaten not only to appeal the contempt charge (good luck with that, fellas!), but want to put the fear of their God into people coming to Rowan County to get marriage licenses, not all of whom have to be gay (since Davis, for some reason, was refusing to issue any licenses, under the mistaken impression it would protect her from a charge of discrimination.*).  And now they think nobody involved in this case, including the federal judge, knows the law of Kentucky except them?

Really, this is just ridiculous now.  I'm honestly wondering if the voters of Rowan County want to pay a clerk a salary to sit in jail.  That may be the real reason she refuses to quit her job.  Wonder if it will become the reason she gets removed from her job?

*Neither federal law nor Kentucky law recognizes homosexuality as a protected class for civil rights purposes, so you can discriminate against homosexuals in Kentucky with abandon.  What you can't do is ignore a court order.


  1. Oh Lord, that is nonsense. When Kim is home sick or on vacation are all the licenses issued by her office invalid because she hasn't given them her imprimatur? Are all of the marriages ever entered into on those licenses issued "Kim absentia" in question now? And based on her attorney's argument can Kim revoke the validity of any licenses issued by her office with just a glance of her thorny brow if she so wills it? Not even a priest can do that once a host has been consecrated. He's really suggesting that she is imbued with some sort of essentially sacerdotal power.

    Imagine if every time you renewed your license plates you had to worry if the manager of the department of motor vehicles wouldn't simply delegitimize them on a whim a few weeks or months later, leaving you open to fines. Imagine if the tens of thousands of deputy sheriffs out there couldn't arrest someone if the county sheriff wasn't with them, or was asleep. That's essentially the argument and her attorney is making: that deputization is meaningless and that the power of an office is not subject to and governed by laws but rather the whims of a given officeholder.

    That's some old school southern attitude right there.

    Interestingly, Mat Staver introduced a new claim today that at all poor Kim ever wanted was her name off of the marriage licenses and that then she would have had no problem issuing them to same-sex couples - as if merely not having her name on the license would exculpate her from any wrongdoing in the eyes of The Lord in this "heaven and hell issue," as she described it.

    That seems like a fairly thin loophole to escape such a grave and morally weighty matter, one that Kim was willing to stop all marriages over...forever.

    Further, it flies in the face of this new argument that all power of her office flows from Kim. He's arguing that licenses issued without Kim's approval are simply invalid on the one hand - and on the other that licenses issued without her name on them either circumvent Kim's moral culpability entirely - perhaps arising ex nihilo from the bureaucratic void. But if all the power and authority of the office flows from Kim then along with it comes the moral responsibility, which is been her argument all along as to why she cannot issue licenses to same-sex couples.

    So how in the hell does not having her name on the licenses relieve her of this moral burden? Where does the power to issue these anonymously-issued licenses come from if not Kim? They're either valid or they're or not, and if they're valid she still bears responsibility for their issuance, which lays bare this whole novel argument as a desperate measure to save face and get her out of jail on the one hand by applying leverage she doesn't have on the other.

  2. And this, trex, is why her lawyers have been so wildly successful up to now in their court filings.

    Excellent analysis!