Kim Davis For Person Of The Year? It May Not Mean What You Think

Kim Davis is a nominee for Time Magazine‘s “Person of the Year,” and her attorneys seem to feel it’s a grand honor. They’re calling for like-minded followers to add to the vote, and help Davis “win” — but they may not realize that being picked as “person of the year” isn’t an endorsement, and may not even be a positive statement.

Kim Davis made headlines and controversy with her refusal to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling that laws denying marriage to same-sex couples are unconstitutional and invalid. Though the ruling essentially invalidated all such laws, not all states, and not all government employees, were quick to extend marriage rights to all couples.

In Rowan County, Kentucky, one such clerk was Kim Davis. She had started the process, seeking the right to deny marriage certificates according to her beliefs, well before the Supreme Court made its ruling. Once the ruling came down, Davis continued to refuse, and to forbid other clerks in her office, to issue the licenses, until at last a judge denied her claim and ordered her to fulfill the duties of her office. It was for defying a court order that Davis was charged and jailed — for less than a week.

Upon her release, Davis and her attorneys with the Liberty Counsel continued to make waves — she altered legal documents, and the Liberty Counsel publicized a meeting between Kim Davis and the Pope, though the Vatican released statements indicating that the meeting was misrepresented.

The controversy at last came, more or less, to an end, when, as Reuters reports, Kentucky’s newly elected governor promised to approve the removal of the clerk’s name from marriage licenses.

Now, Davis is one of over 50 contenders for Time Magazine‘s Person of the Year. Her attorneys at the Liberty Counsel are asking for votes for her.

Kim Davis, Person of the Year? [Image via Facebook]Though the conservative legal group implies that a vote for Kim Davis is a vote for religious liberty, it must be understood that the title isn’t an endorsement. It isn’t a vote for “most popular person of the year” or “coolest person of the year” or “person who did the most good.” It’s a vote for the person who had the most effect, positive or negative, on news stories, headlines, and general public discussion.

The magazine has chosen some quite controversial, and not necessarily positive, figures before.

“TIME’s choices for Person of the Year are often controversial. Editors are asked to choose the person or thing that had the greatest impact on the news, for good or ill — guidelines that leave them no choice but to select a newsworthy — not necessarily praiseworthy — cover subject.”

Hitler and Stalin have both made the cut in past years.

This year, the choices include people who have made headlines as entertainers, political figures, or activists — Caitlyn Jenner, Bernie Sanders, Vladimir Putin, J.K. Rowling, and Nicki Minaj all also are among the contenders.

It’s also not a matter of popular vote — the publication has made clear that, while they are asking for readers’ opinions, the editors will ultimately make the decision.

Kim Davis Person of the Year nomination just means she made a lot of headlines. [Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images]Should Kim Davis be “Person of the Year,” or even a nominee? The latter part of the question is easy: the title is to fall on a name known for making headlines, and there’s no question that the Kentucky clerk has done that. The final question, though, isn’t a matter of whether Davis did a positive thing or a destructive one, stood up for her beliefs or fought for the right to mistreat others. It’s a question of whether she had an effect on the news — and of whether she had more effect than the others nominated.

As of now, with only hours until the reader polls close, Bernie Sanders has the popular vote, followed by Malala Yousafsai and Pope Francis. Kim Davis trails at the end of the poll, with only five others behind her: Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Koch Brothers (named together as a single choice), and Michael Dell.

Whether or not she’s the winner, the consideration of Kim Davis as “Person of the Year” is a reasonable acknowledgment of her high levels of publicity, and is no statement of support for her positions or actions.

[Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images]