Following a judge’s order yesterday that Davis remain in custody of U.S. Marshals for continuing to defy the courts, Staver appeared on “Washington Watch” where he once again brought up Nazi tyranny.
“Washington Watch” host Craig James, the Family Research Council official who mentioned his own lawsuit against Fox Sports for terminating his job as a football analyst over comments he made mocking gay rights, said that America is now on a “slippery slope” of anti-Christian persecution and legal organizations like Liberty Counsel need to “confront people who are breaking the law,” which in James’ mind, is not Davis.
Staver 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 head 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.”
American Family Radio host Bryan Fischer spent the first hour of his radio broadcast today voicing his outrage at the news that Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis had been held in contempt of court and taken into custody for her on-going violation of court rulings ordering the county clerk's office to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
Fischer was not alone it his outrage, as he took a call from a listener who declared that conservatives are tired of "being pushed back to a cliff" and called for "a massive national demonstration of solidarity" with Davis, warning that if ten million people do not come together and "flood Washington, D.C.," then all will be lost.
"The media belongs to the Antichrist," the caller said. "We're at the point now where there must be a massive national upheaval. If we cannot have it, I will predict, I will prophesy to you, there will be blood and it will be massive."
Fischer agreed, declaring that "this is a pivotal point in American history" and asserting that Davis will "wind up being the person on which American history turns."
Asserting that this is proof that "every advance of the homosexual agenda comes at the expense of religious liberty," Fischer proclaimed that every GOP presidential candidate must now be "pushed to the wall, backed into a corner" and forced to state a position on the controversy because this issue is now "the dividing line in the GOP nomination campaign."
Fellow presidential candidate and Kim 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 Kim 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 giving 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...
It is kind of amazing that defenders of Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who has ordered her office not to issue any marriage licenses in order to avoid abiding by the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling, actually think that it is entirely reasonable to force 20,000+ residents to accommodate her personal religious convictions rather than require her to simply do her job.
Like Mat Staver yesterday, Stuart Shepard of Focus on the Family's Citizenlink, insists today that the 23,333 residents of Rowan County, Kentucky, "could easily drive to any neighboring county" in order to obtain a marriage license and should be forced to do so because "an elected official has a right to a reasonable accommodation for her faith."
The idea that it is reasonable to make tens of thousands of people drive to a different county to obtain a marriage license because their clerk simply refuses to do her job, or even to let her subordinates do theirs, is laughable, as is Shepard's argument that it is gay rights activists who are trying to force their views on Davis when, in reality, it is Davis who is forcing her views on an entire county by demanding that all residents accommodate her religious convictions. Of course, if the clerks in the surrounding counties likewise refused to follow the law, Religious Right activists would defend them as well.
Predictably, Shepard goes on to claim that the true reason that gay rights activists are waging this fight is because they are in pain and are lashing out.
"My observation is that the activists are sincerely hurting," he said, "yet their worldview will not allow them to see any connection between the pain they're feeling and the life they're living, so they look for someone to blame and the focus right now is on any Christian who would take a stand For God's timeless design for marriage and relationships."
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said in a statement today that he had called Kentucky clerk Kim Davis to congratulate her for her “courage and humility” in defying the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality.
“Because Congress has made no law allowing for same sex marriage, Kim does not have the constitutional authority to issue a marriage license to homosexual couples,” Huckabee said in the statement, before applauding her for refusing to bow “to the false God of judicial supremacy” and defending herself against “Washington elites who have nothing but disdain for us, our faith and Constitution.”
Another presidential candidate, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said that Davis’ decision to break the law is “part of the American way.” Shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision, Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., said that clerks in his state should be allowed to deny marriage licenses to gay couples if it conflicts with their personal beliefs, even though in 2009 the governor tried to fire a local official after he denied a marriage license to an interracial couple after citing personal objections to interracial marriage.
"I spoke with Kim Davis this morning to offer my prayers and support,” Huckabee said. “I let her know how proud I am of her for not abandoning her religious convictions and standing strong for religious liberty. She is showing more courage and humility than just about any federal office holder in Washington.
"Kim is asking the perfect question: 'Under what law am I authorized to issue homosexual couples a marriage license?' That simple question is giving many in Congress a civics lesson that they never got in grade school,” Huckabee added. "The Supreme Court cannot and did not make a law. They only made a ruling on a law. Congress makes the laws. Because Congress has made no law allowing for same sex marriage, Kim does not have the constitutional authority to issue a marriage license to homosexual couples.
"Kim is a person of great conviction,” Huckabee continued. “When people of conviction fight for what's right they often pay a price, but if they don't and we surrender, we will pay a far greater price for bowing to the false God of judicial supremacy. Government is not God. No man - and certainly no unelected lawyer - has the right to redefine the laws of nature or of nature's God. Five unelected lawyers have abused their power by ruling in favor of a national right to same-sex marriage with no legal precedent and with nothing in our Constitution to back it up. They have violated American's most fundamental right guaranteed by our Constitution - religious liberty.
"I stand with Kim Davis and every American of faith under attack by Washington elites who have nothing but disdain for us, our faith and the Constitution,” Huckabee concluded.
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."
Near the end of his radio program yesterday, American Family Radio host Bryan Fischer once again heaped praise upon Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis for preventing her office from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, in defiance of court orders, calling her a "hero" and likening her to someone who refused to send Jews to Nazi death camps or to return runaway slaves to their owner.
"What would be think today of a clerk in her position and this is a clerk that controls entrance in and out of the town of Auschwitz?," Fischer asked. "There's this box car that pulls up and she knows that there are Jews in the box car that are headed to the gas chambers and yet she has to sign a certificate allowing this train to proceed through Auschwitz to get to the other side of town. Now, the law says you have got to do it ... What would we think of her if she said, 'No, I'm not going to sign that certificate'? I think we would regard her today as a hero for honoring her conscience when it came to an important issue."
"And then you think about Dred Scott," he continued. "What would we think if we had a lower court judge, a magistrate, let's say, in Wisconsin, who said, 'I'm not going to sign that warrant. You want me to sign a warrant to go kidnap or capture a fugitive slave and return him to slavery? I'm not going to do it even though the Supreme Court says that that negro has no rights.' I think that we would regard that guy today as a hero and that's how I look at Kim Davis."
Boasting that he and others warned people that the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling would undermine freedom, Robertson lamented that “there will be persecution time and time again against those people who disagree with the prevailing view that sodomy should be the law of the land and should be practiced openly and without any restraints whatsoever.”
Pray for Kim Davis! Late last night the Supreme Court denied our emergency appeal to keep Kim out of jail. Even though they can go to any of 137 other clerks, today the militant homosexuals who sued her will be on her front step FORCING her to choose between obeying Scripture or going to jail.
Liberty Counsel radio host Matt Barber praised Davis as a modern-day Rosa Parks:
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)
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)
As we reported, local Kentucky official Casey Davis said in a radio interview earlier this week that he will defy a court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples even “if it takes my life.”
The Casey County clerk also told West Virginia radio host Tom Roten on Monday that he believes that, as a Christian, he should be exempt from performing such job duties because his religion requires him to not only oppose same-sex marriage but also to tell gay people that they are going to Hell unless they repent and get washed in “the blood of Jesus Christ.”
“When you stand for what’s right and when you tell someone of the danger that they are in, and I think that when a person lives a lifestyle of sin whether it is homosexuality or drunkenness or drug addiction or adultery or thievery or any kind of sin that you continue in or live in, you are endangering yourself of spending eternity in Hell,” Davis said. “So in my view of what the Bible says, when you’re truly loving someone, you stand and you lovingly tell them, ‘This is not the way to Heaven, this is not the way of right.’”
Davis continued to claim that he is the victim of religious persecution: “I think that this is a war on Christianity, I think same-sex marriage just simply brought it to the surface, but it is a war on Christianity.”
Insisting that he should be allowed to defy the law because divine laws “supersede” American law, Davis said that “God’s placed me here so that I can tell people, ‘Hey there is a higher power that we need to answer to, and it’s not people who wear black robes, it’s the one that wears the white robe.’”
On Monday, Casey County Clerk Casey Davis (no relation) appeared on Huntington, West Virginia’s “The Tom Roten Morning Show” to discuss how he similarly plans to defy the courts if ordered to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples … even to the point of death.
Davis railed against Gov. Steve Beshear for complying with the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling, insisting that the governor should flout the Obergefell decision: “I think that’s a travesty to think that just because he don’t see it this way or his opinion is to let same-sex marriage go and it’s all right that us as Christians, we as Christians just don’t have rights anymore? That’s wrong sir. That’s not right.”
“It’s a war on Christianity,” he said. “There is a travesty taking place with that Supreme Court ruling was completely unconstitutional, completely unconstitutional. They have no right to tell us, the state of Kentucky, that our law that was voted with what was 70 percent of the people that it was wrong, they had no right.”
An emotional Davis went on to claim that he may lose his life in defiance of marriage equality: “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. 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.”
Demanding that Beshear call a special session of the legislature to give him and other clerks a reprieve from doing their job duties, Davis said that the governor should “sit down with a man and a woman who sent their child off to war alive, hugged their neck, told them they loved them and brought them back in a pine box and get them to tell me what the price of freedom is.”
Davis said that the same-sex marriage isn’t real marriage because it violates the Bible: “Where is Adam and Eve’s marriage license recorded at and who did they go get them issued by? I’ll tell you, God issued them. God ordained it. Whether you believe in God or not, the Bible is where marriage came from and it is where it will continue to come from regardless of what man says that it is. It will never be anything but between one man and one woman in the eyes of God, that’s what marriage is and someone else may label it as something else but it can never be anything except between one man and one woman.”
In an interview with the Catholic television network EWTN last week, Sen. Rand Paul said that the main problem that must be addressed in the immigration debate is that we have “almost defeated the work ethic in our country” and “we’ve destroyed the ethic of work in so much of our population.”
But he added that immigration is a “two-fold problem” because “we’re rotting from the inside” thanks to unspecified “people” who lack a work ethic.
“We also have almost defeated the work ethic in our country,” he said. “And so, for like picking crops, hard work, if we didn’t bring in migrant labor, we’re rotting from the inside. We have people who really — we’ve destroyed the ethic of work in so much of our population.”
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."
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.
Plenty of people, it turns out, including Republican politicians seeking to capitalize on anti-Obama fears in order to lift their profile in the increasingly far-right party — a poll in May found that a full one-third of Republicans believed that the government was “trying to take over Texas.”
“Frankly, I gotta tell you, I think the cause of the underlying concerns is that we see instances, like a shooting in Fort Hood by a terrorist, that the president labels workplace violence. We see the president come to the border in Texas and say it’s safer than it’s ever been,” said Abbott. “And so I think it was a misplaced perception by people in Texas who have problems with the Obama administration and connected that trust with the Obama administration to the military.”
2. Rick Perry
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry initially criticized Abbott’s fanning of the Jade Helm 15 flames, saying that while “you can always question” civilian leadership, “I think our military is quite trustworthy.”
Not to be outdone by his presidential rival Perry, Sen. Ted Cruz assured his flock that he had “ reached out to the Pentagon to inquire about this exercise ,” and although he had “no reason to doubt” the official line about the training exercise, “I understand the reason for concern and uncertainty, “because when the federal government has not demonstrated itself to be trustworthy in this administration, the natural consequence is that many citizens don’t trust what it is saying.”
4. Louie Gohmert
After Abbott ordered the Texas Guard to monitor Jade Helm 15, Rep. Louie Gohmert threw himself into promoting the conspiracy theory, releasing a statement saying that the conspiracy theorists were “legitimately suspicious” because “true patriots” and Christians were being persecuted in America.
Gohmert continued with some theories of his own:
Once I observed the map depicting ‘hostile,’ ‘permissive,’ and ‘uncertain’ states and locations, I was rather appalled that the hostile areas amazingly have a Republican majority, ‘cling to their guns and religion,’ and believe in the sanctity of the United States Constitution. When the federal government begins, even in practice, games or exercises, to consider any U.S. city or state in 'hostile' control and trying to retake it, the message becomes extremely calloused and suspicious.
Such labeling tends to make people who have grown leery of federal government overreach become suspicious of whether their big brother government anticipates certain states may start another civil war or be overtaken by foreign radical Islamist elements which have been reported to be just across our border. Such labeling by a government that is normally not allowed to use military force against its own citizens is an affront to the residents of that particular state considered as 'hostile,' as if the government is trying to provoke a fight with them. The map of the exercise needs to change, the names on the map need to change, and the tone of the exercise needs to be completely revamped so the federal government is not intentionally practicing war against its own states.
Like Abbott and Perry, Gohmert was insistent that the whole conspiracy theory was President Obama’s fault:
5. Rand Paul
We’ll give Rand Paul credit for seeming a little surprised when a popular Iowa talk radio host asked him about Jade Helm 15, although he said he’d been hearing about it from constituents and would “look into” it. If Paul ever did look into it and find that the conspiracy theory was completely bogus, however, he never bothered to say so.
It was only a few years ago that a local official in Louisiana drew national ire, and threats of dismissal from Gov. Bobby Jindal, for refusing to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple because he held the personal conviction that such marriages are wrong and undermine the wellbeing of children. Now, however, many Republicans are rallying around local officials who refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, similarly citing their personal convictions that such marriages are wrong.
One of these officials is Casey Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky who has boasted that he will defy the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage and deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Davis appeared on the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” program yesterday, where he tried to portray himself as the latest victim of anti-Christian persecution in America.
Davis told host Tony Perkins, who heads the Family Research Council and recently praised Davis, that his rights are “being violated” by being asked to perform his job responsibilities.
“It’s not just me being violated but it’s both side of the coin, both sides of this issue that’s at stake here, and that is our First Amendment rights,” Davis said. “We have religious freedom in this country and if we lose that we’ve lost everything.”
Sen. Rand Paul’s recent remark that the issue of abortion rights would be best handled “by the states” rather than “under the 14th Amendment” and his ambiguous answer to the question of “when does life begin” were, as commentators on the leftand the right have pointed out, somewhat confounding since Paul has sponsored a Senate bill that aims to undermine Roe v. Wade by defining life as beginning “at conception.”
Adding to the confusion, just a few weeks before Paul made his remarks, the “personhood” group National Pro-Life Alliance forwarded to its members a fundraising email Paul wrote last year urging them to support the effort to “bypass Roe v. Wade” by declaring “unborn children ‘persons’ as defined by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, entitled to legal protection.”
On April 4, National Pro-Life Alliance forwarded Paul’s letter with the subject line “Sign the petition to bypass Roe v. Wade”:
In the past, many in the pro-life movement have felt limited to protecting a life here and there -- passing some limited law to slightly control abortion in the more outrageous cases.
But some pro-lifers always seem to tiptoe around the Supreme Court, hoping they won't be offended.
Now the time to grovel before the Supreme Court is over .
Working from what the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade, pro-life lawmakers can pass a Life at Conception Act and end abortion using the Constitution instead of amending it.
Signing the Life at Conception Act petition will help break through the opposition clinging to abortion-on-demand and ultimately win a vote on this life-saving bill to overturn Roe v. Wade.
A Life at Conception Act declares unborn children "persons" as defined by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, entitled to legal protection .
This is the one thing the Supreme Court admitted in Roe v. Wade that would cause the case for legal abortion to "collapse."
Today, the group sent a similar message from former Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas. Paul’s and Stockman’s argument is based on the somewhat questionable legal theory — rejected by even many anti-choice leaders — that Congress can “bypass” a constitutional amendment or Supreme Court decision overturning Roe by simply passing legislation declaring fertilized eggs and fetuses to be “persons” under the law.
Some anti-choice leaders worry that this strategy would backfire in the courts, giving the Supreme Court a broad opening to strengthen Roe v. Wade. But if it were to succeed, the consequences would be enormous , not only defining all abortion as murder, but endangering common forms of birth control as well. Back in 2013, Paul claimed that such a measure would have “thousands of exceptions,” which his staff later clarified that he did not actually mean.
In fact, saying completely contradictory things on reproductive rights seems to be becoming Paul’s official campaign line. In his profile of Paul in March, Brian summarized Paul’s shifting stance on abortion rights as he heads into the 2016 presidential election:
Paul has also been on all sides of the question of abortion rights. Although Paul is the chief sponsor of a federal personhood bill that would ban abortion in all cases and has warned that a failure to pass the bill will result in the collapse of civilization, he has also said that he does not favor changing the nation’s abortion laws because the country is currently too divided on the issue. Paul insists that he opposes bans on birth control, despite the fact that his own personhood bill would give legal rights to zygotes and could ban common forms of contraception. In a 2013 CNN interview, Paul said that there would be “thousands of exceptions” to his personhood bill, but a spokesman later assured anti-choice activists that the senator approved of just a single exception, allowing abortion in cases where the life of the pregnant woman is at risk.
Matt Bevin, the Tea Party favorite who unsuccessfully challenged Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell in the 2014 Republican primary, is now leading in a tight race for the Republican nomination for governor. An early count has Bevin ahead by 83 votes after Tuesday's primary election, making it possible that he will become the newest GOP standard-bearer in the state.
While this is great news for the Tea Party, whom Bevin calls the new abolitionists and civil rights leaders, and for Glenn Beck, who thinks Bevin is a “founder quality” candidate, who has been “ called by God” for public office, it’s less good news for everyone else. One McConnell aide said that if Bevin, a political novice, were to become governor, “his only agenda would be the commissioning of his portrait.” But his record shows that he might have quite a bit more on his plate:
Anti-Contraception Stance Bevin won the endorsement of the extreme anti-choice group Northern Kentucky Right to Life last year after he said in a questionnaire that he would support a “personhood” amendment to the Constitution — which would ban all abortion and even some common forms of birth control — and work to prohibit Medicaid funding for birth control pills.
Health Care Extremism Bevin is such an opponent of the Affordable Care Act that he has vowed to reverse Kentucky’s expansion of Medicaid under the law, a move that would take away the health insurance of 400,000 people. Kentucky has been one of the greatest success stories of Obamacare, experiencing what NPR calls “second-steepest drop in uninsured of any state.”
Cockfighting Bevin got plenty of negative publicity in his last campaign when it came to light that he had once spoken at a rally organized in support of legalizing cockfighting. Bevin later explained that while he opposes “animal cruelty” he supports “states’ rights” more. A Republican strategist told the New York Times that he expects the cockfighting issue to come up a lot in the general election should Bevin secure the nomination.