Following a judge’s order yesterday that Davis remain in custody of U.S. Marshals for continuing to defy the courts by refusing to issue marriage licenses in her county, Staver appeared on the Family Research Council's “Washington Watch” program, where he once again brought up Nazi tyranny.
“Washington Watch” host Craig James, after mentioning his own lawsuit against Fox Sports for terminating his job as a football analyst over comments he made mocking gay rights, claimed that America is now on a “slippery slope” of anti-Christian persecution. Legal organizations like Liberty Counsel, he said, need to “confront people who are breaking the law" — which, in James’ mind, apparently does not include Davis.
Staver then accused Davis’ critics of turning America into Nazi Germany: “Back in the 1930s, it began with the Jews, where they were evicted from public employment, then boycotted in their private employment, then stigmatized and that led to the gas chambers. This is the new persecution of Christians here in this country.”
The Liberty Counsel chairman has previously claimed that respecting gay marriage laws is no different than handing Jews over to the Nazis: “You cannot obey something that is contrary to God's law. And we would easily say, well, what would happen if the government forced you turn over a Jew in Nazi Germany? All of us would say we wouldn't do that, we wouldn't listen to that. Well, we're about ready to walk into the moment.”
The decision by a federal judge to put Kim Davis in the custody of U.S. Marshals for repeatedly violating the law and refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples has solidified the Kentucky clerk’s status as a Religious Right martyr. Following the court’s ruling, conservative leaders and commentators immediately defended Davis.
Fellow presidential candidate and Davis defender Rand Paul told CNN that “it’s absurd to put someone in jail for exercising their religious liberties,” wondering why federal courts are involved in the matter in the first place.
Ted Cruz released his own statement decrying the supposed “persecution” of Davis by the Obama administration, which had nothing to do with the case:
“Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny. Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith. This is wrong. This is not America.
“I stand with Kim Davis. Unequivocally. I stand with every American that the Obama Administration is trying to force to chose between honoring his or her faith or complying with a lawless court opinion.
“I call upon every Believer, every Constitutionalist, every lover of liberty to stand with Kim Davis. Stop the persecution now.”
“Kim Davis might be jailed for her conscience, but her conscience is free,” Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver told Glenn Beck’s The Blaze. “He’s just putting her behind bars and treating her as a criminal.”
Liberty Counsel radio host Matt Barber said that Davis will now have to “bow a knee before ‘LGBT’ gods” or burn to death, likening her to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said in a statement that the judge has imposed an unconstitutional religious test for public office: “If this is not resolved in a manner that accommodates the orthodox religious beliefs of Clerk Davis, this will, in effect, establish a reverse religious test barring those who hold biblical views of marriage from positions of public service. Such a religious test by proclamation or practice is wrong.”
After conducting a fawning interview with Davis, Fox News pundit Todd Starnes continued to defend her, warning that “these are very dangerous days for America”:
Kentucky clerk Kim Davis was taken into federal custody today. Federal Judge David Bunning says she will remain behind...
A federal judge put Kim Davis in custody of U.S. Marshals today after the Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk repeatedly flouted the law by ordering the county office to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Dominic Holden reports that Judge David Bunning, a federal judge nominated by George W. Bush, “did not believe it made sense to fine Davis because he did not believe it would compel her to act.”
When host Jim Schneider of VCY America asked why Davis won’t resign, Staver said that the county’s residents support her and “she’d probably be able to win the governor’s seat right now rather than just the clerk of Rowan County. She’s there to do a duty, a job and the job duty was changed.”
“Does that mean that if you’re Christian, don’t apply here; if you’re a Jew, you gotta get — what happened in Nazi Germany, what happened there first, they removed the Jews from government public employment, then they stopped patronizing them in their private businesses, then they continued to stigmatize them, then they were the ‘problems,’ then they killed them,” Staver said. “The fact of the matter is, she has a right to this employment and you don’t lose your constitutional liberties just because you are employed by the government.”
The way Liberty Counsel sees it, the Supreme Court’s landmark Obergefell decision is illegitimate and can be ignored. In a lawsuit that Liberty Counsel filed for Davis against the governor of Kentucky, the group claims that Davis cannot act “in contradiction to the moral law of God, natural law, or her sincerely held religious beliefs and convictions” without violating her oath of office.
Liberty Counsel adds that the enforcement of the marriage equality ruling is inherently unconstitutional as it “creates a religious (or anti-religious) test for holding office — which the United States and Kentucky Constitutions expressly forbid.”
By invoking “God’s authority” even after the Supreme Court rejected her appeals, Davis is echoing Liberty Counsel’s argument that her own interpretation of divine law trumps whatever the courts say, and as a public official she must follow this higher authority.
Davis has now become a figure that Liberty Counsel uses to claim that Christians in America are not only facing oppression, but have no need to follow the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage.
If Davis can defy the courts, Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver argues, then other elected officials can turn their counties (or cities and states) into “sanctuary cities” safe from gay marriage. “If they come out with a decision that is contrary to God's natural created order,” Staver said before the court ruled in Obergefell, “I personally will advocate disobedience to it ... and collectively, we cannot accept that as the rule of law.”
Before the Supreme Court's ruling, Staver called on officials to practice civil disobedience if it ruled "the wrong way" and to tell the court, “Goodbye, get out of my state, that’s not what’s going to happen to my state.” He urged elected officials to “go back to the days of Martin Luther King Jr., go back to the days of the American Revolution” in defying marriage equality.
“This is the thing that revolutions literally are made of,” Staver said in 2012, anticipating a Supreme Court ruling like Obergefell. “This would be more devastating to our freedom, to our religious freedom, to the rights of pastors and their duty to be able to speak and to Christians around the country, than anything that the revolutionaries during the American Revolution even dreamed of facing. This would be the thing that revolutions are made of. This could split the country right in two. This could cause another civil war.”
He has even likened the refusal to abide by marriage equality to defying the Nazi government, urging conservatives to emulate German dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer and refuse to respect gay marriage just as they wouldn’t turn over a Jew to the Nazis. “You cannot obey something that is contrary to God’s law," he said in March. "And we would easily say, well, what would happen if the government forced you turn over a Jew in Nazi Germany? All of us would say we wouldn’t do that, we wouldn’t listen to that. Well, we’re about ready to walk into the moment.”
The Davis case isn't the first time that Staver’s legal team has urged a client to break the law in order to abide by what it claims is God's law. His group once represented Lisa Miller, a self-proclaimed "ex-gay," in a child custody dispute with her former partner. The Liberty Counsel instructors at Liberty University’s Law School reportedly told their students that they must follow God’s law over U.S. law in such a case and Miller did just that, violating the terms of the custody agreement, which caused the courts to then transfer custody of their daughter to Miller’s former partner. Once again defying the courts, Miller then fled the country with the child, travelling to Canada and then ultimately to Central America, sparking an international kidnapping case.
Now, it seems that Kim Davis has emerged as the anti-gay Rosa Parks that Staver and other conservative leaders have been longing to find and use as a test case for their radical view of the Constitution.
It is not a coincidence that Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who is currently at the center of a heated legal battle over her refusal to allow the county office to issue any marriage licenses in order to avoid having to provide them to gay couples, is being represented by Mat Staver and his organization Liberty Counsel, as both he and the organization have a long history of vehemently anti-gay activism. While the Supreme Court has rebuffed Davis' legal challenges, Staver has continued to insist that she and other anti-gay clerks are justified in violating the law.
Today, Staver appeared on Steve Malzberg's Newsmax program, where, amazingly, he declared that it was entirely reasonable for the more than 20,000 residents of Rowan County, Kentucky, to have to drive 30 minutes to another county in order to obtain a marriage license in order to protect Davis' personal religious convictions.
"The simple issue that can be resolved is her religious conscience and convictions," Staver said. "You have 120 counties in Kentucky and you have additional jurisdictions that can issue licenses. So it's 130-plus venues; you drive 30 minutes in any direction in Kentucky and get a marriage license. You don't have to force Kim Davis herself to issue the license."
Staver went on to warn that if Davis, who has also ordered deputy clerks not to issue marriage licenses, is actually required to do her job as an elected official and public employee, soon the government will go after churches, Christian universities, and Christian businesses as well because "what the end goal is is to stamp out freedom."
After being rebuffed by the Supreme Court and therefore exhausting the appeals process, Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis denied a marriage license to a gay couple today for the fifth time since the legalization of same-sex marriage. Davis is part of a small group of county clerks who claim that their interpretation of divine law trumps their responsibilities as public officials. Demanding that one couple seeking a marriage license leave her office, Davis said that she is acting “under God’s authority.”
She told the couple that she is acting in preparation for her “time for judgment”: “I’m willing to face my consequences as you all will face your consequences when it comes time for judgment.”
While Davis claims that performing her job responsibilities infringes upon her personal religious freedoms, an appeals court made clear that the “injunction operates not against Davis personally, but against the holder of her office of Rowan County Clerk.”
Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, the legal group representing Davis, told the conservative outlet WorldNetDaily today that she should decide what to do based upon prayer. “She’s going to have to think and pray about her decision,” he said, railing against what he calls “the SSM Mandate.”
Liberty Counsel is quite excited that Davis intends to break the law by denying same-sex couples their legal right to marry, as they believe it boosts their claim that gay marriage leads to the persecutionofChristians.
Insisting that the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling is inherently unconstitutional since it compels public officials to violate “the moral law of God,” Staver has urged officials across the nation to commit civil disobedience by refusing to recognize the ruling since “neither the United States Supreme Court nor any court has authority to redefine marriage and thereby weaken both the family and society.”
Another defiant clerk in Kentucky, Casey Davis (no relation to Kim Davis), said last week that God has urged him to use his position to tell gays and lesbians to get washed in “the blood of Jesus Christ” instead of “spending eternity in Hell.” Insisting that he is a victim in the “war on Christianity,” Davis said that he may die in his fight against marriage equality:
UPDATE: She said in a statement that she will continue to defy the court:
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. (emphasis added)
RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.
While it may be too late for Donald Trump to save us from stock market turmoil (he warned us!), he just might be the one who saves us from the even greater threat of refugees from war-torn nations, gay marriage and the “War on Christmas.”
5) Who Will End The War On Christmas?
Donald Trump, of course, and he’ll do it in a big way, very classy, and you’re going to love it. While speaking with an Alabama radio host, Trump declared that he is sick and tired of the “assault on anything having to do with Christianity” and promised that he “will assault that.”
“They don’t want to use the word Christmas anymore at department stores,” he said. “There’s always lawsuits and unfortunately a lot of those lawsuits are won by the other side. I will assault that. I will go so strongly against so many of the things, when they take away the word ‘Christmas.’ I go out of my way to use the word ‘Christmas.’ Some people say to me, some people do this very professionally, ‘Oh don’t mention the word Christmas.’ I said, ‘Like Hell I’m not going to mention it.’ I mention Christmas before I even start speaking. There’s a great assault on Christianity in so many ways.”
Then Trump moved on to the actual persecution of Christians under ISIS, before then falsely claiming that the U.S. refuses to accept Christian refugees.
Incidentally, it seems that this is yet another issue that Trump has evolved on, since he and his business empire were once enemy combatants in the War on Christmas.
The coming economic meltdown of course will lead to “fascism, communism, war, and hunger,” Beck explained, telling viewers that it is “not a matter of if” but when: “Are you prepared? Do you have food on hand? Do you have cash on hand? Do you have ammunition and guns and God, most importantly?”
3) Refugees Destroying America
The extremist Oath Keepers have discovered the latest attempt to “destroy the Republic”: refugees.
The group recently warned that refugees who may “harbor terrorist intentions” are coming to the U.S., egged on by Democratic politicians who want their votes and don’t care about committing “national suicide.”
Apparently, these refugees are assisted by churches, liberal organizations, George Soros and the United Nations, all in order to surreptitiously push their left-wing policies on America.
“I can say, without hyperbole,” writes Oath Keepers’ David Codrea, “this is a vital report addressing nothing less than the survival of the Founder’s Republic in the 21st Century, one that you ignore at your peril, and at the peril of everyone you love.”
2) Gays Coming To Recruit Your Kids
Conservative talk show host Tamara Scott, who also happens to be a member of the Republican National Committee and the Iowa leader of Concerned Women for America, said she is befuddled by people who think that gay people don’t choose to be gay.
She had this question for the “haters”: “If homosexuality is truly just something that happens, then why, one, do we have to recruit it in our kindergarten through college-level educational system and, if it’s just an everyday thing, why does it need all these special protections in the civil rights?”
While speaking on a conservative radio show, Davis portrayed himself as a victim of the “war on Christianity” and lamented that “Christians just don’t have rights anymore” as a result of the Supreme Court’s “unconstitutional” gay marriage decision.
“Our law says ‘one man and one woman’ and that is what I held my hand up and took an oath to and that is what I expected,” he said. “If it takes it, I will go to jail over — if it takes my life, I will die for because I believe I owe that to the people that fought so I can have the freedom that I have, I owe that to them today, and you do, we all do. They fought and died so we could have this freedom and I’m going to fight and die for my kids and your kids can keep it.”
A few weeks ago, amid the ongoing smear campaign falsely alleging that Planned Parenthood profits off the illegal sale of body parts from aborted fetuses, it was revealed that GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson had done medical research using tissue from aborted fetuses in the past.
Carson defended the practice but his explanation didn't make much sense and it certainly has not convinced Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver or Matt Barber, who likened Carson to a Nazi doctor on their "Faith and Freedom" radio program today.
While never mentioning Carson by name, Staver and Barber made it clear that they do not buy his "convoluted" defense, with Staver saying that "any of the research on these aborted babies is immoral, unethical, and contributes to the abortion practice," and so "there is no way that you can legitimately defend that practice."
Barber agreed, saying, "During the Nuremberg trials with Nazi Germany, there were some doctors that were placed on trial ... As he was on trial and kind of trying to rationalize the atrocities that he took part in, he basically said, 'Well, as long as they were torturing and killing these Jewish people anyway, it would be stupid not to take their body parts and to do medical research on them.' That's exactly what this Republican candidate, by the way, said relative to the research on these aborted children. There is no difference."
A Kentucky county clerk who has refused to issue any marriage licenses since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in June lost an appeal of her case in the Sixth Circuit yesterday. The federal appeals court held that the clerk, Kim Davis, cannot cite her personal religious views as a reason to stop a government office from performing its duties.
"It is disappointing, certainly for our client, because the ramifications of the ruling is that there are no religious freedom rights for individuals if you can say a case is just against the office. The problem with that is, individuals who hold public office don't forfeit their constitutional rights," said Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, the religious advocacy group representing Davis.
Davis will appeal one more rung up the ladder, to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, who can intervene in 6th Circuit cases, Staver said.
While Staver claims that the clerk’s “constitutional rights” are being violated when she is required to perform her job duties, the appeals court points out that this is not a case of individual free speech: “[W]here a public employee’s speech is made pursuant to his duties, ‘the relevant speaker [is] the government entity, not the individual.’”
As the County Clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky, Davis’s official duties include the issuance of marriage licenses. In response to the Supreme Court’s holding in Obergefell v. Hodges, (2015), that a state is not permitted “to bar same -sex couples from marriage on the same terms as accorded to couples of the opposite sex,” Davis unilaterally decided that her office would no longer issue any marriage licenses.
The request for a stay pending appeal relates solely to an injunction against Davis in her official capacity. The injunction operates not against Davis personally, but against the holder of her office of Rowan County Clerk. In light of the binding holding of Obergefell, it cannot be defensibly argued that the holder of the Rowan County Clerk’s office, apart from who personally occupies that office, may decline to act in conformity with the United States Constitution as interpreted by a dispositive holding of the United States Supreme Court. There is thus little or no likelihood that the Clerk in her official capacity will prevail on appeal. (emphasis added)
At its core, this civil action presents a conflict between two individual liberties held sacrosanct in American jurisprudence. One is the fundamental right to marry implicitly recognized in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The other is the right to free exercise of religion explicitly guaranteed by the First Amendment. Each party seeks to exercise one of these rights, but in doing so, they threaten to infringe upon the opposing party’s rights. The tension between these constitutional concerns can be resolved by answering one simple question: Does the Free Exercise Clause likely excuse Kim Davis from issuing marriage licenses because she has a religious objection to samesex marriage? For reasons stated herein, the Court answers this question in the negative.
The judge analyzed the case under the U.S. Constitution, the Kentucky state constitution, and the Kentucky Religious Freedom Act (which is patterned after the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act). He considered and rejected various arguments raised by Liberty Counsel defending Davis’s right to refuse to provide marriage licenses.
Davis contends that “[c]ompelling all individuals who have any connection with the issuance of marriage licenses . . . to authorize, approve, and participate in that act against their sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage, without providing accommodation, amounts to an improper religious test for holding (or maintaining) public office.” The Court must again point out that the act of issuing a marriage license to a same-sex couple merely signifies that the couple has met the legal requirements to marry. It is not a sign of moral or religious approval. The State is not requiring Davis to express a particular religious belief as a condition of public employment, nor is it forcing her to surrender her free exercise rights in order to perform her duties. Thus, it seems unlikely that Davis will be able to establish a violation of the Religious Test Clause….
As the Court has already pointed out, Davis is simply being asked to signify that couples meet the legal requirements to marry. The State is not asking her to condone same-sex unions on moral or religious grounds, nor is it restricting her from engaging in a variety of religious activities. Davis remains free to practice her Apostolic Christian beliefs. She may continue to attend church twice a week, participate in Bible Study and minister to female inmates at the Rowan County Jail. She is even free to believe that marriage is a union between one man and one woman, as many Americans do. However, her religious convictions cannot excuse her from performing the duties that she took an oath to perform as Rowan County Clerk.
“Judge Bunning’s decision equated Kim’s free exercise of religion to going to church. This is absurd! Christianity is not a robe you take off when you leave a sanctuary,” said Staver. “The First Amendment guarantees Kim and every American the free exercise of religion, even when they are working for the government.”
“Kim Davis cannot license something that is prohibited by her religious convictions,” Staver continued. “To provide a license is to provide approval and places a legal authority behind what is being licensed. The First Amendment protects actions and not mere thought. Kim Davis should not be forced to violate her religious beliefs,” Staver concluded.
Last year, after a federal court struck down North Carolina’s ban on same-sex couples getting married, Staver and anti-gay activist Matt Barber urged magistrates in the state with similar religious objections not to resign but to “stand their ground” and refuse to obey the ruling.
In 2014, the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) implemented a policy prohibiting "staff and volunteers from discriminating against youth based on sexual orientation or gender identity" and that obviously did not sit well with the anti-gay activists over at Liberty Counsel.
Last month, Liberty Counsel sent a letter to the DJJ on behalf of a Christian minister and volunteer who refused to abide by the policy, arguing that the policy "creates an unconstitutional, religious litmus test" and discriminates against the Bible and Christians.
As Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver explained on today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, the gay young people who are in Kentucky's juvenile justice system need to hear the Gospel because they were probably molested, which is why they wound up in the system in the first place.
"There's a lot of young boys that are in the juvenile facilities who have been sexually abused by other men," Staver said, "and some of them, obviously the blame themselves — that's a typical reaction of some young boy or girl who has been sexually abused, they oftentimes blame themselves, unfortunately — and they carry that guilt that they were responsible. They question whether God could have allowed this, why would He allow this? They question whether there is even forgiveness for them because they think this is the normal way of living and as they were abused, they need to abuse somebody else, so they've gotten involved in different kinds of activities that are harmful to themselves, which ultimately led them to why they're in the juvenile detention center."
On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver and Matt Barber called for the creation of "sanctuary states" where Planned Parenthood facilities are defunded and shut down and abortion is simply outlawed by Republican governors and state legislatures.
Praising the right-wing smear campaign against Planned Parenthood, Staver reiterated his call for the creation of abortion-free zones as he urged Congress to defund the organization and for states to follow suit, because Planned Parenthood should not be receiving "any more for genocide."
"But beyond that, we need to stop abortion," Staver declared, urging governors to "just simply say, 'Enough is enough, we're not going to kill children in our state.'"
Saying that is it not enough to simply defund Planned Parenthood, which is "like funding the Holocaust," Staver advocated the creation of "sanctuary states" where abortion would be against the law.
"You've got these so-called sanctuary cities," he said, "setting these up for the protection of illegal aliens, we should set up a sanctuary location, a sanctuary city, but particularly a sanctuary state that says that children within our state, they're protected, we will not stand by and allow them to be slaughtered in the womb."
Barber eagerly agreed, suggesting that Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma and other "red states" should all "come together" and declares themselves to be "sanctuary states for the preborn."
On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver and Matt Barber took issue with the recent decision by the Boy Scouts of America to lift its ban on gay Scout leaders, with Staver declaring that the organization will now become a "playground for pedophiles."
Staver called on churches to cut all ties with the Boy Scouts rather than "promote this kind of immorality" and risk subjecting young boys to sexual molestation.
"Now [the organization will] allow homosexual young boys in the Scouts and allow homosexual leaders in the Scouts, and what are you going to have?," Staver asked. "You are going to have all kinds of sexual molestation. This is a playground for pedophiles to go and have all these boys as objects of their lust. This is insane and we need to literally abandon the Scouts because the Scouts, unfortunately, have abandoned us."
"This issue of homosexuality is becoming insane," he continued, "and it is the culture battle of our time. Whether it is this Boy Scouts' abdication of its role and changing of its policies or same-sex marriage, this is a time that our Judeo-Christian values are attacked, being challenged, and this is a time for you to stand up and be true to the Scriptures and be true to our Lord."
On Liberty Counsel's "Faith and Freedom" radio program today, Matt Barber attacked the nuclear deal worked out between Iran and United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and Germany, blasting President Obama for engaging in "treason" and stating that the deal is akin to the United States giving Adolf Hitler nuclear weapons in the middle of World War II.
"There was a time, before we entered this age of lawlessness," Barber said, "where what Obama and John Kerry are doing here and have done here would have been called what it is, would have properly been called treason. This is a president who is aiding and abetting the enemies of the western world, America, Israel, and elsewhere, aiding and abetting them, literally giving them the nuke. This is like Neville Chamberlain on steroids, the difference being that Neville Chamberlain didn't give Hitler nuclear weapons. Obama is doing that to the modern-day Hitler."
"Imagine," he continued, "the United States is negotiating with Hitler, it's 1941, we're at war with Germany and imagine the president goes to Hitler and they get together and he says, 'You know what? I know we're at war with you but here's $700 billion for you to develop more weapons and to allocate in ways that will help you win the war and destroy America and have Naziism become a global phenomenon.' That is the parallel we're seeing here."
"It makes you wonder what possibly can be motivating this president to do this," Barber said. "Does he really hate America that much?"
The group’s founder, Mat Staver, who argues that the states and cities should simply ignore the marriage equality ruling, announced today that his group is now filing a lawsuit on behalf of the Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis, against the state’s governor, alleging that his enforcement of the Supreme Court’s decision violates the U.S. Constitution. The suit [PDF] argues that because the clerk opposes same-sex marriage, she should not have to perform her job duties and comply with the state’s marriage laws because doing so “would violate her deeply and sincerely held religious beliefs.”
The group adds that Davis’ belief in divine laws trumps the court’s recent decision: “Before taking office as County Clerk in January 2015, Davis swore an oath to support the constitutions and laws of the United States and the Commonwealth of Kentucky ‘so help me God.’ Davis understood (and understands) this oath to mean that, in upholding the federal and state constitutions and laws, she would not act in contradiction to the moral law of God, natural law, or her sincerely held religious beliefs and convictions.”
By enforcing the marriage equality decision, Liberty Counsel claims, the state is violating the U.S. Constitution’s First and 14th Amendments. The group even alleges that the state is violating Article VI by trying to “impose a religious test as a qualification to hold the office of county clerk.”
1. The Commonwealth of Kentucky, acting through Governor Beshear, has deprived Davis of her religious conscience rights guaranteed by the United States and Kentucky Constitutions and laws, by insisting that Davis issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples contrary to her conscience, based on her sincerely held religious beliefs. Because of Governor Beshear’s open declaration that Davis has no such rights, Governor Beshear has exposed Davis to the Plaintiffs’ underlying lawsuit, in which the Plaintiffs claim a constitutional right to a Kentucky marriage license issued specifically by Davis. Governor Beshear is not only liable to Davis for Plaintiffs’ claims, but is also obligated to effect Kentucky marriage licensing policies that uphold Davis’s rights of religious conscience.
8. The Commonwealth of Kentucky has a body of democratically-enacted law memorializing the millennia-old, natural definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In 1998, the Kentucky legislature codified at Ky. Rev. Stat. § 402.005 the natural definition of marriage, previously entrenched in Kentucky common law, that “‘marriage’ refers only to the civil status, condition, or relation of one (1) man and one (1) woman united in law for life, for the discharge to each other and the community of the duties legally incumbent upon those whose association is founded on the distinction of sex.” In 2004, the Kentucky legislature proposed a constitutional amendment, which was subsequently enacted on the approval of seventy-four percent (74%) of the voters, memorializing that “[o]nly a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky” KY. CONST. § 233A.
16. Davis is a professing Christian who is heavily involved in her local church, attending weekly Bible study and worship services there, and who leads a weekly Bible study for women at a local jail. 17. As a Christian, Davis possesses a sincerely held religious belief and conviction, based upon the Bible which she believes to be the Word of God, that “marriage” is exclusively a union between one man and one woman. According to her beliefs, there is no arrangement of people other than one man and one woman that is, or can be called, “marriage.”
18. As county clerk, as a matter of Kentucky law, Davis authorizes, and signifies her authorization and approval by affixing her name to, each and every marriage license issued from her office. But Davis can neither authorize nor approve the “marriage” of a same-sex couple according to her conscience, because even calling the relationship of a same-sex couple “marriage” would violate her deeply and sincerely held religious beliefs. Nor can Davis allow her name to appear as the source of authority and approval for any marriage license issued to a same-sex couple because providing such approval would violate her sincere religious beliefs and convictions.
19. Before taking office as County Clerk in January 2015, Davis swore an oath to support the constitutions and laws of the United States and the Commonwealth of Kentucky “so help me God.” Davis understood (and understands) this oath to mean that, in upholding the federal and state constitutions and laws, she would not act in contradiction to the moral law of God, natural law, or her sincerely held religious beliefs and convictions. Davis also understood (and understands) the constitution and laws she swore to uphold to incorporate the constitutional and other legal protections of all individuals’ rights to live and work according to their consciences, as informed by their sincerely held religious beliefs and convictions, including without limitation such rights she holds in her own individual capacity.
20. Davis’s sincerely held religious belief regarding the definition of “marriage” was perfectly aligned with the prevailing marriage policy in Kentucky at the time she took office, as provided in the Kentucky Constitution, Kentucky statutes, and controlling court decisions, and as effected by the Commonwealth through Governor Beshear and Commissioner Onkst.
38. Governor Beshear’s targeted and discriminatory marriage policy pronouncements constitute government-imposed pressure on Davis to act contrary to her religious beliefs, and expose Davis to potential liability if she refuses to compromise her religious beliefs and violate her conscience.
59. Davis’s sincerely held religious beliefs prohibit her from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Davis’s compliance with her religious beliefs is a religious exercise.
86. Kentucky’s marriage policies, as effected by Governor Beshear and Commissioner Onkst, violate Davis’s rights secured to her by the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and by the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
99. Kentucky’s marriage policies, as effected by Governor Beshear and Commissioner Onkst, require persons with religious beliefs like those of Davis to renounce such beliefs as a condition to holding the office of county clerk, and thereby impose a religious test as a qualification to hold the office of county clerk.
100. Kentucky’s marriage policies, as effected by Governor Beshear and Commissioner Onkst, violate Davis’s rights secured to her by Article VI of the United States Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The right-wing legal group Liberty Counsel has been encouraging public officials from county clerks to governors to ignore the Supreme Court’s decision striking down gay-marriage bans nationwide, and as part of this work is representing Kim Davis, a Kentucky clerk who is refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
Liberty Counsel’s main argument in the Kentucky case is that Davis’ religious liberty is being violated because she is being forced to do her job and issue licenses for legal marriages between people of the same sex.
In fact, LC argues in a recent court filing, marriage equality actually imposes an unconstitutional “religious (or anti-religious) test for holding office” because people like Davis who don’t want to issue marriage licenses to gay couples aren’t allowed to refuse to do so.
They want, the court filing explains, “to induce irreversible and substantial harm to the religious conscience of Davis.”
“If Davis’ religious objection cannot be accommodated under the circumstances of this case, then elected officials have no real religious freedom when they take public office,” Staver warned.
The brief argues, “There is no constitutional right to have a particular person authorize a SSM license and affix their imprimatur to that permanent public record, especially if that person holds deep religious convictions prohibiting her from participating in and approving of SSM.”
It continued, “Contrary to plaintiffs’ insatiable demands, such individual rights and freedoms so fundamental to liberty are neither surrendered at the entry door of public service nor waived upon taking an oath of office. To suggest otherwise creates a religious (or anti-religious) test for holding office – which the United States and Kentucky Constitutions expressly forbid.”
Liberty Counsel activists Mat Staver and Matt Barber are jubilant over a court ruling that a Houston nondiscrimination ordinance must be put up for a popular vote, even after the city found that opponents had not gathered enough valid signatures to put it on the ballot.
Barber declared on a recent episode of LC’s “Faith and Freedom” program that not only was the Texas Supreme Court decision a “victory for the rule of law,” but it was a victory for women and children who will no longer be in danger of being attacked by “perverts” in “miniskirts.”
“This is a victory for those of us who are standing firm for the rights of children and women not to have their privacy violated by men in miniskirts who are pretending to be women,” he said. “Who knows what sort of perverts and potential predators we’re talking about here, placing women and young girls at risk, primarily.”
Staver added that Houston’s Mayor Annise Parker, “this pro-open-lesbian” pursued the nondiscrimination policy because, like President Obama, she has no “moral compass.”
“You get these kinds of people in power,” he said, “and it’s dangerous because they don’t have any parameters of moral compass that will direct them to do what’s right, even though it goes against heir personal opinion. They just want to achieve an objective.”
Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver joined VCY America’s “Crosstalk” program on Thursday to discuss his work urging government officials to defy the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality.
Staver urged governors and other elected officials to “stand up and resist” the Supreme Court’s ruling, praising officials in Alabama and Texas who are pushing back against it.
Such officials, he said, could create “sanctuary cities” free from gay marriage and abortion rights, just as some cities have become sanctuary cities for undocumented immigrants.
“You know what, if some cities can create sanctuary cities for illegal aliens, why can’t a city or a state create a sanctuary city or state to protect the preborn?” he asked.
“And to protect marriage,” VCY’s Jim Schneider chimed in.
“…and to protect marriage, absolutely.”
Staver is representing one Kentucky County clerk, Kim Davis, who is refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, which he said she can’t do because she would be giving those couples a “license” to “engage in a sinful activity with a sinful relationship.”
“And understand what their dilemma is,” he said. “They provide a license to do something. They provide a license that gives you the legal authority to drive a car. They provide a license that gives you a legal authority to operate a business. So they’re providing a license that gives you a legal authority to do what? To engage in a sinful activity with a sinful relationship, a same-sex so-called marriage.”
Claiming that the Supreme Court’s decision put people like Davis in the “firing line,” he said that she was simply unwilling to “authorize someone to do something that itself is sinful, that is repugnant to her and the scriptures and to natural millennia of human history, natural law.”
Senator and presidential hopeful Ted Cruz has repeatedly called recent Supreme Court decisions on marriage and health care reform “tyranny.” On Wednesday, he used his platform as chair of the Senate’s Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts to hold a hearing on “Supreme Court activism” in which he said that the marriage equality ruling was “the very definition of tyranny” and that “Justice Kennedy’s pop psychology has no basis in the text and history of the Constitution.”
To say that the Supreme Court's recent decision legalizing gay marriage nationwide has sent Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver completely over the edge would be something of an understatement, as he has spent just about every radio program since it came down railing against its supposed illegitimacy while warning that God's judgment will soon befall this nation.
That trend continued today, as Staver again used the "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast to declare that he was ashamed for this nation after seeing the White House lit up in rainbow colors following the decision and warning that America cannot escape God's judgment.
"No nation in history can rebel against God and assume that it will continue to exist," Staver said. "It just simply won't happen. You have, as individuals, consequences to your actions and nations have consequences to their corporate actions as well. What just happened with regards to this opinion of marriage by five lawyers at the Supreme Court, an illegitimate decision as it is, and even then the Obama administration participating and celebrating sin is an act of defiance against our Creator and it will bring judgment upon our nation. Make no mistake about it."
After co-host Matt Barber declared that lighting up the White House in rainbow colors is "a harbinger of God's judgment" brought about by the "arrogance and haughtiness in celebration of the sin of Sodom," Staver declared that upon seeing it, he became ashamed to be an American.
"It's unprecedented in American history that the president of the United States would be so in-your-face immoral and impose that immorality and sin on the rest of the country," Staver said. "I wept when I saw that and thought about what a horrible example that is to the rest of the world. I just felt shameful to be an American at that point in time, that this is my country and look what my country has come to. The president of the United States has put the cloak of sin over the White House, the cloak of shame over the White House."