Kentucky County Clerk Jailed for Dissenting from New Marriage Orthodoxy

September 4, 2015



Really, guys?  You’re going to start putting people in jail for disagreeing with you?

As both Fox News and the liberal Washington Post are reporting:

“Kentucky clerk ordered to jail for refusing to issue gay marriage license”

(WP headline)

U.S. District Judge David Bunning said he had no choice but to jail Kim Davis for contempt after she insisted that her “conscience will not allow” her to follow federal court rulings on gay marriage.


I could at least understand firing her; her view is different from the government’s new view—though it’s not as if federal bureaucrats in, say, the IRS or the EPA, could be fired even for abuse of power—but jail?  Really?

So much for tolerance.

Speaking of actors from across the pond, I had the good fortune of meeting at the end of his life Hilton Edwards, the founder of Ireland’s Gate Theatre. Hilton and the love of his life, Micháel MacLiammóir, were for many years the most famously gay couple in Dublin. At MacLiammóir’s funeral in 1978, the Taoiseach and half the Irish cabinet attended, and at the end they went up to Edwards, shook hands, and expressed their condolences — in other words, publicly acknowledging him as “the widow.” This in a state where homosexuality was illegal, and where few people suggested that it should be otherwise. The Irish officials at the funeral treated MacLiammóir’s relict humanely and decently, not because they had to but because they wished to. I miss that kind of civilized tolerance of the other, and I wish, a mere four decades on, the victors in the culture wars might consider extending it to the losers.

Update (September 4, 2015):  David French at NRO adds,

Here’s Judge Bunning justifying his decision:

“The court cannot condone the willful disobedience of its lawfully issued order,” Judge Bunning said. “If you give people the opportunity to choose which orders they follow, that’s what potentially causes problems.”

Don’t make me laugh. Some people will call this ruling a triumph for the rule of law, a matter of harsh but necessary justice. It is no such thing. . . . There were many options short of imprisonment for Davis (how many leftist legislators are in jail for lawless “sanctuary city” policies that actually cost lives?), but the court was apparently in no mood for moderation. So off she goes to prison. Judge Bunning’s decision is a means of control[.]

5 Responses to “Kentucky County Clerk Jailed for Dissenting from New Marriage Orthodoxy”

  1. She can’t be fired. She’s an elected official. She can only be impeached, fined, or jailed for refusing to perform her duties. It’s a dangerous situation when a representative of the government starts deciding their private beliefs supersede the law. If she had a sense of honor, she would have resigned. But she refused to quit, refused to do the part of her job she objects to, and even threatened intimidation of deputy clerks who disagreed with her and were willing to comply with the law. She gave the judge very little choice.

    • So someone somewhere declining to issue a license is “dangerous”; actually jailing political prisoners or religious dissenters is not “dangerous”. Got it.

      If you think impeachment is the appropriate remedy, then fine, impeach her and remove her from office. Why should jail be resorted to before that?

      • Why jail? Apparently the judge thought fining her wouldn’t work. He also made it clear to her 6 deputies that if they didn’t issue the licenses, they would be jailed too. And apparently he was right. 5 of the 6 said “No problem. She just wasn’t letting us do it.” And now the licenses are being issued, though her lawyers are now saying “Without her name on them, they aren’t valid licenses.” We’ll see.

      • So much for tolerance.

    • Snoodickle Says:

      Why would a judge tolerate the violation of his order? That makes absolutely no sense.

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