Friday, September 04, 2015

This Kim Davis situation is actually pretty simple

“The court cannot condone the willful disobedience of its lawfully issued order. If you give people the opportunity to choose which orders they follow, that’s what potentially causes problems.” - United States Federal Judge David L. Bunning
Normally, I'm resistant to the proposal of simple solutions to controversial conflicts. There is always more than one side to a story and there are almost always several different degrees and various nuanced factors that deserve careful consideration, rendering simple solutions inadequate.

However, this whole thing with Kim Davis, the clerk of Rowan County in Kentucky, and her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples is not that difficult: she needs to resign.

This isn't about her religious beliefs, to which she is certainly entitled, regardless of what they are or how committed she is (or isn't) to any one established doctrine. It isn't about yours either, to which you are equally entitled. It's not even a straight or gay thing. At the heart of the matter, it's simply about her refusal to do her job, and as such, she needs to do the one and only right thing for all involved and quit.

As a county clerk in the state of Kentucky, she took the following oath when she was elected:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and be faithful and true to the Commonwealth of Kentucky so long as I continue a citizen thereof, and that I will faithfully execute, to the best of my ability, the office of ——————— according to law; and I do further solemnly swear (or affirm) that since the adoption of the present Constitution, I, being a citizen of this State, have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this State nor out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge, nor aided or assisted any person thus offending, so help me God." - Section 228 of the Kentucky Constitution, oath of officers and attorneys
Okay, I'm not sure I understand the fixation on dueling, but whatever.
Still a big deal in Kentucky, apparently.
The point is, she is not upholding the oath she took upon entering office, in that she is not supporting the Constitution of the United States and is not faithfully executing the office to which she was elected according to law. She has a job to do and she's refusing to do it. It's as simple as that. Ultimately, all the circumstances surrounding the situation are irrelevant. She has a job to do and she's refusing to do it.

She's an elected official so she can't be fired per se, but the moral and ethical thing for her to do, on her own behalf and her stated commitment to this ideal, as well as the citizens she's supposed to be serving, is to resign.

Picture how this would play out in any other job situation:
SUPERVISOR: There have been some changes. I need you to add mopping the restroom to your daily responsibilities.
EMPLOYEE: I don't want to do that.
SUPERVISOR: Okay, but it's part of your job now, so...
EMPLOYEE: Well, I really don't want to do it, so I guess I quit.
People face dilemmas like that in the workplace all the time. If it's something you feel strongly about, whatever it is, quit! By all means, honor your religion. By all means, speak freely about it. But if you're being paid to do a job, especially if it's serving the public, either do that job or quit.

Recently, I've seen people attempt to draw a comparison between Davis and Rosa Parks, that this somehow equates to civil disobedience for the sake of correcting an injustice.
Please. Please just cut the shit. I shouldn't even have to illustrate this but...

  • Rosa Parks was a private citizen who protested a city ordinance on the grounds that it was discriminatory and unjust. 
  • Kim Davis is a government official attempting to use her position of authority to force people to adhere to certain tenets of her religion.
Kim Davis was elected to a position, and is being paid, to serve the public, not oppress it and she just needs to quit.
It really is just that simple.

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