Many predicted the dramatic events that would follow the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to legalise gay marriage in the United States, and the current furore surrounding Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis over her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples seem to indicate that the scociopolitical conversation on gay marriage in the U.S. is far from over.
Davis has come under a media spotlight over the past few weeks for refusing to grant marriage licenses to homosexual couples, despite being instructed to do so after the Supreme Court’s historic ruling. While Davis isn’t the only individual to do this, she is the first to be taken to court over it.
After a federal judge ordered Davis and her like-minded colleagues to resume issuing marriage licenses to all couples, heterosexual and homosexual, under threat of fines or jail time, most did. Davis did not. Alleging that being forced to issue what she considered “invalid” marriage licenses to gay couples violated her religious freedom and claiming to be acting under “God’s authority” and not that of the government, the 49 year old was jailed until she agreed to comply with the judge’s order, something she maintains she has no intention of doing.
In the wake of her imprisonment, crowds gathered in front of the jail house she was being held in, brandishing signs criticising gay marriage to protest the decision. Davis’ husband addressed the crowd, telling them that his wife would not relent.
Davis’ protest has caught the attention of both the nation and the international community and has drawn both criticism and praise. Firmly in Davis’ camp is Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, a Baptist pastor and former governor, who plans to meet with Davis in jail and host a rally supporting her shortly thereafter. Huckabee has been vocal in his criticism of gay marriage, claiming that Davis’ imprisonment was evidence that Christianity was being criminalised and questioning why Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is not in prison and Davis is.
Speaking through her attorneys, Davis claimed that the only way she would agree to follow the judge’s order is if state law was altered so that the issuance of marriage licenses did not fall under her jurisdiction. Unfortunately for Ms. Davis, the state legislature won’t meet again until January 2016 so she may be spending four more months behind bars.