Why Her ‘Conscience’ Is Not A Valid Reason To Deny Gay Marriage Through An Appeal To The Supreme Court

Kim Davis is a member of the Rowan County Clerk Office in Kentucky, a state which as of a few months ago was declared by the Supreme Court as a state in which gay marriage is legal. Kim Davis is also an Apostolic Christian, and expresses that her religious belief system opposes the notion of gay marriage. Although in July, 2013, the General Assembly of the Disciples of Christ issued a “Sense of Assembly” resolution, which brings to attention the numerous members of religious groups who have been discriminated against due to being gay. The resolution accepted all of God’s children despite being gay or straight. That being said, local congregations still do have a final say over issues that impact their consciences.

As indicated in CNN Politics, Kim Davis’s key rebuttal in refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples is that it would be a “searing act of validation” that would “forever echo in her conscience.” Although to many religious groups, this may seem like a worthy validation for denying a union between two gay people, if one’s “conscience” was a consistent reason for which to act against the law, well, it’s probably safe to say that there would be substantial chaos in our world.

Kim’s appeal to the Supreme Court for an emergency order allowing her to continue denying gay marriages was quickly refused by the court. In an effort to prove that she had no interest in discriminating, Davis said she would simply stop issuing licenses altogether, to both gay and straight couples. As a result, both gay and straight couples sued her for not fulfilling her duties as an elected official. Consequentially, she was issued a preliminary injunction, stating that she had to continue issuing marriage licenses, despite her religious beliefs.

As indicated in an article by Pete Williams of NBC News, the appeals court stated as follows.

“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.”

Basically, what this suggests is that if an individual is going to go to court in order to appeal against a federal law, the reason needs to be justifiable, and given the circumstances of Kim Davis’s appeal, the court did not consider her conscience to be a particularly justifiable act to deny gay marriage.

So what does this mean for Kim and her refusal to issue marriage certificates to gay couples? Well, Mat Staver, the founder of the law firm representing Davis, says as follows.

“She’s going to have to think and pray about her decision overnight. She certainly understands the consequences either way… She’ll report to work tomorrow, and face whatever she has to face.”

For the time being, it seems as though Davis will be required to issue marriage certificates to gay couples. Best of luck, Kim! Hopefully, your conscience remains clear.

[Image by Bill Pugliano / Getty Images]