Same-sex couples trying to get marriage licenses in one Kentucky county found themselves turned away at the end of August. Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis told all couples, gay and straight, that as long as she had to give same-sex marriage licenses she would not issue a single marriage licence at all.
When asked under whose authority she was denying marriage licenses Davis replied, “Under God’s Authority!”
This statement led to a moral debate between religion and law, similar to a former debate about teaching evolution in high school biology classes.
People supporting both sides: religious freedom and federal law, showed up outside of the Rowan County courthouse when one of the first same-sex couples went in to receive their marriage license. While a recorded argument ensued inside the courthouse, the heated standoff continued all day outside.
Ms. Davis has become both a national symbol and rallying point for Christian anti-gay activists who claim that their beliefs do not permit what they are calling an atrocity to continue any longer. Some have gone so far as to say that, unless things begin to change, the U.S. will become the next Sodom or Gomorrah, cities that the Bible says were destroyed by God for being sinful.
Ms. Davis was sued, and the case went to the Supreme Court after she continued to refuse to do her job. The Supreme Court ruled that Ms. Davis could not deny licenses to gay couples based solely on her religion because, while everyone has religious freedom, that freedom can’t impair the freedom of others.
Ms. Davis said that no matter how the court ruled, she would not issue permits for gay marriage.
When the ruling was released critics lobbied for Ms. Davis to be fined. The court instead decided that she should serve jail time for being in contempt of court. She was released five days later from a Kentucky detention center.
Upon her release she walked onto a stage with republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, surrounded by supporters to the sound of “Eye of the Tiger.” The use of the song is rumored to have prompted the band Survivor to file a $1.2 million dollar lawsuit against Davis and Huckabee.
After Davis’ arrest, five of the six remaining Rowan county clerks said that they would issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The clerk who continued to hold out is Ms. Davis’ son.
Davis is not alone in her stand against gay marriage. Many county officials in Texas, Kentucky and Alabama, to name a few, have also denied marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. They were not sued and taken to court, but they are still expected to show up in court and speak.
This one issue has swept the nation since gay marriage was first legalized in Massachusetts in 2004. In the last few years, the legalization of gay marriage spread across the entire United States, Ireland, Puerto Rico and Greenland.
Recently, this issue became more controversial with increased public acceptance of LGBT people. Everyone has differing opinions that range from the idea that gay marriage is morally wrong and an abomination, to the belief that that gay marriage is the same as any other marriage.
Now, with the recent development in Kentucky, this debate has been revived once again.