After the US Supreme Court redefined marriage for the whole country, without providing the mechanisms to deal with the consequences for ordinary citizens, Americans are currently reeling and wrestling with those consequences. Among the fray, there have been some small victories for those who refused to kowtow to the LGBTI agenda. Notably, a Kentucky administrator who was jailed for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licences has been vindicated.
Last year, Kim Davis spent six days in jail for contempt when she refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses which bore her name because of her belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. However, the licenses themselves were not refused – they were just referred to another staff member who did not hold the same belief as Davis.
Always the antithesis to “tolerance,” the LGBTI lobby were not satisfied with getting their own way, or with punishing Davis with time in prison. True to form, they sought her financial ruin as well. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) represented the plaintiffs and attempted to force Davis to pay a whopping $231,000 USD in legal fees. As Roger Gannon, a senior lawyer at Liberty Counsel, put it:
“These plaintiffs got a marriage license in September while Kim Davis was in jail but rather than moving on they want to get their pound of flesh, so to speak. They want to force her to pay more than they've already made her pay.”
US Magistrate Judge Edward Atkins dismissed the case, evidently realising the absurdity of the ACLU’s claims. He wrote:
“The plaintiffs are not ‘prevailing parties’… and are therefore not entitled to an award of attorneys’ fees.”
According to the ACLU, they were entitled to the money because of the expenses paid to
“go through the expense of that litigation to secure a basic right that should not have been denied eligible couples in the first place.” What the ACLU failed to acknowledge is that Davis never denied that right to couples – she referred them to someone else in the office.
Judge Atkins’ ruling, finally clearing Davis of the potential financial penalty, comes more than a year after Davis was finally vindicated when Governor Matt Bevin issued an executive order removing the requirement that the name of the issuing clerk should appear on marriage licences. Shortly after issuing the order, Bevin tweeted:
“To ensure that the sincerely held religious beliefs of all Kentuckians are honored I took action to revise the Clerk marriage license form.”
The Governor of Kentucky made a powerful defence of religious freedom. As corporate Australia throws its dollars at groups lobbying for same-sex marriage, Australian politicians should take note.
Mat Staver, founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, wrote:
“This executive order is a clear, simple accommodation on behalf of Kim Davis and all Kentucky clerks. Kim can celebrate Christmas with her family knowing she does not have to choose between her public office and her deeply-held religious convictions. What former Gov. Beshear could have done but refused to do, Gov. Bevin did with this executive order.
“We are pleased that Gov. Bevin kept his campaign promise to accommodate the religious rights of Kim Davis. We will notify the courts of the executive order and this order proves our point that a reasonable accommodation should have been done to avoid Kim having to spend time in jail.”
Horatio Mihet, a lawyer at Liberty Counsel, said:
“[She] never violated her conscience, and she still has her job and her freedom -- that is a win for Kim and for all Americans who want to perform public service without being forced to compromise their religious liberties.”
Kim Davis is not the only person to suffer in the wake of the Obergefell v. Hodges decision of 2015, nor is she the only one who the ACLU has attempted to financially punish for not obeying the same-sex marriage agenda. Barronelle Stutzman is still fighting the case brought against her for declining to provide flowers for the wedding of a gay friend and long-term customer, whom she had served numerous times before. As The National Review stated:
“She had always consistently and joyfully served gay clients, including the man who ultimately decided to bring potentially ruinous legal claims against her. On each of those prior occasions, however, she was not using her artistic talents to help her clients celebrate an occasion she considered immoral.”
In another similar incident, the Supreme Court of Wyoming publicly reprimanded Judge Ruth Neely last week for refusing to perform same-sex marriages. Yet, as Neely herself explained, she has never even been asked to perform one:
“If I ever were to receive a request to perform a same-sex marriage, which has never happened, I would ensure that the couple received the services that they requested by very kindly giving them the names and phone numbers of other magistrates who could perform their wedding.”
Against the forceful campaign of the same-sex marriage lobby, Kim Davis, Barronelle Stutzman, and Judge Ruth Neely stood up for religious freedom, and paid dearly for it. However, as we saw with the case of Kim Davis, justice can prevail, even if only after years of fighting.
Here in Australia, our fight to defend marriage will not be a walk in the park. But as these three women exemplified, everyday people will fight back to protect their rights, and send a message throughout the nation that all citizens deserve to have their rights honoured and respected. No matter what, we at Marriage Alliance will continue to fight as the voice of the silent majority against the impending same-sex marriage campaign. As Davis’ story proves, victory is not easy, but it is definitely attainable.