A Gay Dad Sounds Off On the Pawn for the Homophobia Industry Refusing to Do Her Job

kim davis evloeq

Along the metaphorical highway on the journey to LGBT civil rights, there are many collisions. These are when willful ignorance runs headlong into justice. Few of these are as fascinating as the wreck taking place in Rowan County Kentucky. It seems we in the American public cannot help ourselves to rubber neck and gawk as a group of cold hearted counter people, led by a county clerk, rudely deny a polite gay couple their marriage license.

A small melodrama has unfolded. The “good guys” are a couple of Davids — Moore and Ermold, who want to get married. After decades of LGBT progress, it is exactly in their legal rights to do so. The “villain” of the piece is a woman named Kim Davis who refuses to issue them a marriage license. She had denied the same to a second couple, James Yates and William Smith Jr.

The governor of the state has told her to comply with the request, as has a federal judge.

Her representation, the right wing Liberty Counsel, has told her to refuse as they create a high profile scene climbing the judicial appeal process. She calls her own homophobia “religious freedom”, the Liberty Counsel may call it a number of things, but what it really is to them is… profit.

As a gay dad, Ms. Davis’s behavior bothers me on multiple levels. I look at the messages not just to me, but to my kids and their counterparts in LGBT families across the nation. First and foremost is her attempt to disparage families such as mine and declare us invalid due to her own belief system. Her treatment of two prospective families is humiliating and demeaning. Kids who are in LGBT families, and kids who are LGBT themselves should not be sent this message that a government official would rather they simply not exist.

Second, however, is in her behavior. I am teaching my kids principles of responsibility and citizenship. Ms. Davis violates that principle at every turn.

I have written her a letter.

Dear Ms. Davis,

Over the past few months, I have been watching your reaction to the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality for families such as mine. Your stance has been in equal parts disappointing and confusing.

I understand that you are angry that the fight for marriage equality did not go the way you had hoped. While I am pretty sure I will not be able to persuade you into liking the decision, as a public servant, I do expect you to respect it.

Respect is the key issue at hand, for you, and for the gay couples of whom you refuse to help. You are demanding a respect of your beliefs far beyond what is reasonable, and they are demanding respect for their ability to self-determine the course of their own lives. Unlike yours, their demands are not just reasonable; they are the way things should be.

Your demand that the terms of your job adhere to your own standards rather than the objective standards of law reminds me of how my 12-year old son would like rules applied. He would like for his brother, who is 13, and him to be able to go to the local pool unattended. The pool’s rule for unattended kids is 14 and older. Jesse applies his logic this way: “Dad. If you add both Jason’s and my ages, together we are 25. That’s the same thing.” (Imagine them trying that logic at the local dance bar.)

His logic and the rules are not the same thing. Neither is your desire and the rule you want to break on behalf of “your beliefs.”

I have to admit right up front that as a Christian myself; I do not understand the religious system you claim to have. Nowhere in the Bible does it demand that you impede the family of a same sex couple. It does not imply that you should. The key principle of the golden rule, to do unto others as you would have do unto you, and Christ’s second great commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself”, absolutely are counter to your current behavior.

Much has been made of the fact that your own marriage license indicates you have been married multiple times. There are, theoretically, county clerks who would find your requests for re-marriage counter to Jesus’s directive on divorce. Would you react to them deeming YOU as “unmarryable” acceptable?

I wouldn’t, and I would defend you. I embrace Christ. I feel He has given us the awareness to understand that His directive in the discussion on divorce was to a specific time and place. His purpose was not to saddle people like you into hopeless permanent unions, but to protect women from destitution.

Even though I am confused as to your exact motivation, I ask that you reconsider your choices for a whole other reason. You set a horrendous example for young people, like my sons, who should be learning how to effectively co-exist with others in our society.

Your behavior reminds me of Jesse’s. He has a high sense of what he considers right and wrong just as he did about the pool, and when confronted by a situation holds his stand to the bitter end. Many times his stand it the correct and appropriate one. We get into trouble when it is not.

In those situations, he, like you, will want to only do what he wants, when he wants. It has taken many discussions and his growing maturity to understand that by being part of a team, a village, a country and by agreeing up front to the terms of engagement, he does not get to violate rules just because he wants to.

It is a lesson I wish you too would learn.

You also seem to share the need for life lessons around choosing with whom you associate. When Jesse is putting his foot down on something he needs to do, but doesn’t want to, he calls in his allies for credibility or support. “My friends don’t think that is fair!” Invariably those he calls upon to do the wrong thing have a vested interest. They want him to take the action, not for his well being, but because it serves their interests.

Such is your relationship with Liberty Counsel. As the Lexington Herald-Leader observes, the Liberty Counsel “describes itself as a nonprofit that provides pro bono legal representation related to “religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family,” funded by tax-deductible donations and grants. In 2012 those gifts reached just over $3.5 million and in 2013 topped $4.1 million, according to IRS filings.” They further point out that the group’s involvement with you is not because they even believe they can bring you satisfaction, but that “Liberty’s attorneys know they can’t win the case in Rowan County. Same-sex marriage is legal since the Supreme Court’s June 26 decision and it’s Davis’ job to issue marriage licenses. So, why is Liberty Counsel marching alongside Davis in this losing cause? It takes a lot to keep that marketing machine humming and those executives paid, and the only way to keep those donations coming is to stay in the news. For that purpose a losing cause is just as good as, perhaps better than, a winning one.”

Liberty Counsel seeks to attract emotionally charged hate money from those wanting to harm all gay families, from those who would wish to criminalize homosexuality, from those who see gay marriage and abortion with equal passion. Just because they have rallied to your cause, they are not your friends either however. What they are doing to you is worse than what they will actually be able to affect towards LGBT families.

My wish is for you to take a deep look into what would make you the better person. Your “friends”, who themselves will reap millions, are telling you to hang out until the end where you will be potentially unemployed, and perceived globally as a selfish intolerant hypocrite who was cruel to her neighbors. If you succeed on your current plan at the behest of Liberty Counsel, they will make a lot of money and in a paradoxical way, you will be the loser.

This “Good Samaritan” friend is telling you to do the opposite: do your job, respect the people making their own life choices, and trust the God you profess to believe in that love will prevail in the end.

If you do that instead, the couples you are denying will get the licenses they wish. They will walk away with the thousands of protections they deserve.

You will walk away with dignity. History will not regard you as a hate filled martyr, but a woman who changed her mind, evolved and chose the path of compassion.

The Liberty Counsel won’t be able to use you for fund raising.

You won’t just cease to be a pawn by those seeking to profit from your disgruntled feelings. You will be the real winner.

A few years later, you will be walking down the street of your town. You will see a gloriously happy little girl holding the hand of her dad. She will smile at you, and give a little wink. As that visual “butterfly kiss” warms your heart, you will look to her father and realize that you know him. He is one of the men you originally tried to deny a marriage license. Your eyes will dart immediately back to the little girl… who will still be beaming at you.

In that moment, you will know without a doubt that you ultimately did the right thing.

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About robw77

A single gay dad who cares. His story can be read here: http://www.imagaysingleparent.com/2013/02/02/rob/ and here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/31/rob-watson-gay-family_n_4689661.html
This entry was posted in Bible, Civil Rights, Equality, Hatred, News, Prejudice, Religion and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to A Gay Dad Sounds Off On the Pawn for the Homophobia Industry Refusing to Do Her Job

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  11. Reblogged this on Gay Guide To Cambodia and commented:
    Equality

  12. Catherine says:

    The woman seems to want to have her public sector job, and all of its benefits, and get to act out of her religious convictions rather than the law of the land… isn’t that rather having your cake and eating it too? I’d be more impressed by her (still not very impressed, it’s a relative thing, you understand) if she had the courage of her convictions and left her job over this, rather than demanding that the world conform to her bigotry.

  13. I admit to not understanding this fully as I’m English. So if I say what I think is happening, please correct me if I’m wrong. If couples want to get married they go to wherever this woman works to obtain a marriage licence. If they are legally allowed to marry (e.g. they’re not underage, related or already married to other people) then the county clerk issues them with said licence. This clerk instead of using the law to determine whom is allowed to marry, is behaving like a Roman Emperor and using her own personal prejudices to decide if she gives the thumb up or the thumb down. And she’s being incredibly rude about it to boot.

    Yeah, so same question really. Why hasn’t she been fired for breaking the law in refusing to issue licences and for her dreadful customer service? If it’s that much of an issue for her, then why doesn’t she ask to be transferred or to have duties which don’t come into conflict with her (spurious in my opinion) religious beliefs? This is the bit that really confuses me. Is there any legal redress for the couples to whom she’s refused to issue licences?

    I don’t think she’s much older than me, but she may as well be in a different century. She reminds me of my ex mother-in-law 25 years ago who reported me to social services because my son had some pink socks, and her horror at the sight of him playing with a doll. She said, “Don’t you worry it will make him….” at that point she had my full attention as I snapped “Make him what?” She was aware that I was extremely frosty, so trailed off with “…..Er….you know….” and I answered, “A good dad? Someone who knows how to nurture and care for people smaller and more vulnerable than himself? No, I’m not worried at all.” Ten minutes later I heard her wailing to her husband about how mean I was. Like I cared. Homophobia was not allowed in my house and definitely not around my children.

    • Ben in oakland says:

      And very good for you!

    • Dinard38 says:

      @Emily. LOL. Love your post. Unbelievable the ignorance of people. Your ex mother in law reporting you to social services because you DARED to allow your son to wear pink socks??!!! You horrible mother!!! Smh. That’s just sad.

      You got it right about the marriage license process here in the good old USA. And you’re right. This woman should be fired for not doing her job. But I suspect that is exactly what the Liberty Counsel is hoping for. They are involved with this woman because they want to use this dispute as a catalyst to spur on their “Religious Freedom” campaign. If she doesn’t change her mind, this woman will probably be fired for not doing her job, then she’ll sue, claiming she was illegally fired based off of 1st Amendment rights. The Liberty Counsel and other self interest groups will try to fight this case, and similar cases like this that will rear its ugly head, up through the court system with the ultimate goal of making it to the US Supreme Court.

      It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out.

    • Erica Cook says:

      you’re pretty spot on. The legal recourse for the men is to sue her for discrimination, which they are. They can go to another district to get a license, but the way taxes work in the US is you pay state, local, and federal taxes. You pay taxes for the running of each level of your government and who gets that tax money is dependent on where you live. They payed the taxes for the management of the district they live in and they believe they shouldn’t have to drive out of their way, in this case over 100 miles, to get the same registration they can get within their area.

      The reason why she hasn’t been fired yet is because she argues being forced to sign the license is a violation of her religious rights. To have to quit or be fired is religious discrimination. If this sounds absurd that is because it is. If one’s religion bars them from doing their job then that isn’t the job for them. I also like your reaction to your mother in law. good parenting.

    • Eric in California says:

      Emily i agree with your post. To answer your question about why she has not been fired. She is an elected official, so she cannot be fired per US law. In order for her to be removed from office, She must be impeached by the State Legislature, who can then remove her from office. In the State of Kentucky the Legislature is not currently in session. In some states is is year round in others it is not. The Kentucky Legislature will not be in session until January (if i recall correctly). The Governor of the state does have the power to call an emergency/special session, however for what ever reason, has decided not to take this action.

    • Jill Friedman says:

      Kim Davis cannot be fired, transferred, disciplined or accomodated because she is an elected official at the top of her chain of command. She doesn’t have a boss; she IS the boss. She has prevented government workers under her supervision from issuing marriage licenses, and is now altering the licenses to make them invalid. The only way an elected official can be removed from office is through impeachment by the legislature, a kind of trial. It’s a difficult and time consuming process which is seldom used.

  14. I wouldn’t have been so nice!!!! I would have told her to do her job or QUIT and hope she has a nice stay at the state penitentiary!!!!!

  15. david4445 says:

    I can’t help but to point this out but when you refer to these two couples applying for a marriage license as “two prospective families”, you’re acting in a similar way to this clerk. Perhaps suggesting that “family” is defined by your own standards. Marriage and children. It also gives our power away, suggesting that our ability to from families is dependent on a license issued at a clerk’s office. Obtaining the right to marry is no small thing but we have always had the right to marry and/or form our own families and there are many definitions of family, not just the heterosexual model.

    • robw77 says:

      Actually, I think you may be the one projecting. When people marry they are then covered by family law and are a legal family. That covers families of two or more. While anyone can form spiritual families, they cannot form legally recognized families nor can they legally operate as one.

  16. patsimon2014 says:

    Reblogged this on patsimonblog and commented:
    Evol= Sends a powerful message in this blog!

  17. Holy shit … best letter yet.

  18. Ben in oakland says:

    I have too much to do today to write about this. But I will put THIS much in.

    I’m not confused about her motivation at all. It is what it always is: plain old bigotry given the thinnest possible veneer of respectability by claiming it is all about sincere religious belief.

    Her religious belief has taught her that gays are the worse possible sinners. But her prejudice has taught her something else entirely: gay people are just beneath her, our lives are worthy of contempt, and WE require HER supervision (read: dominion) to live lives that she will consider worthy. In short, not all bigotry is hate. So much of it is the ever present, always assumed, completely unwarranted faith in her completely imaginary superiority as a moral person, a so-called Christian, and a human being.

    Someone else wrote the following. I’m just quoting it.

    “From what I can tell in their statement, it sounds like “irreversible harm” is referring to the religious teaching that a Christian is held accountable for souls that she/he failed to “win to Christ” as well as the souls one may have “caused to fall away.” This means that, no matter how devout a Christian is and no matter how much one achieved for the good of the church and its cause, one may die and be turned away at the gates of heaven for failing to persuade (or force) someone else to become a Christian. If I fail to persuade you to become a Christian (“accept Christ as your personal lord and savior”) on the exact terms and by the identical definition and in agreement with the precise beliefs of my group’s doctrine, then your refusal has jeopardized my eternal destiny. If you are my relative, even my own child, I can redeem myself by severing ties with you and pledging my loyalty to my group.”

    Back to me: so it is not only imaginary moral superiority, it is a basic fear that your sin taints my holiness.

  19. Catherine says:

    Why hasn’t this axis of evil and bigotry lost her job? I certainly know many people who would LOVE her job AND be delighted to give same-sex couples–no, scratch that. ALL couples (no labeling) a license to be joined together in a legal marriage!

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