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OPINION: Public Officials Should Enforce The Law, Not The Bible

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Created: 02 September, 2015
Updated: 16 October, 2022
4 min read

ROWAN COUNTY, KY. -- At the end of June, the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that state bans on same-sex marriage violated the 14th Amendment and were thus unconstitutional. This led to same-sex marriage being legal throughout the country.

The majority of places began to make the necessary changes within the coming weeks. There was no more uncertainty about where the law stood. But in Rowan County, Kentucky, elected clerk Kim Davis decided to take a stand and defy the court’s ruling. Not only has she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, she has refused to issue any marriage license.

Davis filed a lawsuit in federal court after Kentucky Governor Steven Beshear told clerks throughout the state that they had to comply with the ruling and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The court ruled that she had to comply with the law. So she filed an appeal to the Supreme Court which also ruled this week that she had to comply with the law to which she is still refusing to do.

This ordeal has opened up the old debate of religious liberty protected under the First Amendment and equal rights for all citizens. Kim Davis has been quoted saying that she was not issuing marriage licenses “under God’s authority.” As an Apostolic Christian, she says that she cannot issue marriage licenses as it goes against her religious beliefs.

Another Kentucky clerk that is standing alongside Kim Davis is Casey Davis, who has stated that they are just exercising their First Amendment rights and that same-sex couples could go to a neighboring county to get their marriage licenses.

Sadly, what Kim Davis fails to recognize is that the law is the law. It has been ruled on and even affirmed now.

Kim Davis has the right to believe what she wishes. However, she is a public servant and should do her job. The key words in that sentence are “public servant.” If she is unable to perform the tasks of her job, she either needs to be fired or resign on her own. She does not have the right to decide which laws she will follow and which she will not.

I’m sure we could all get into a huge discussion about what is actually written in the Bible about same-sex marriage, women’s rights, shellfish, slavery, and many other things, but that is not the point of this. Yes, we all have the right to freely believe and practice whatever religion we wish so long as it does not affect anyone else.

When James Madison originally proposed what would eventually become our First Amendment, this is what he wrote regarding our freedom of religion:

“The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext infringed.”

The civil rights of NONE shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship. Same-sex marriage is a civil right. It has been ruled on and affirmed. The Supreme Court even ruled back as far as Loving v. Virginia (1967) that marriage was a civil right and therefore was protected under the Constitution.

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Let’s put this into a difference scenario. How would Ms. Davis feel if someone told her that because she is a woman she cannot voice her own opinion and is subservient to her husband? The Bible does state this in Ephesians 5:21-30, “Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.”

I’m sure Ms. Davis would be quite vocal in her objection if someone were to force that upon her. Just like with the law, she doesn’t get to pick which parts of her religion she is going to practice and which she will not.

Despite what her religious beliefs or objections may be, the U.S. Constitution is still the supreme law of this country (Article 6, Clause 2), not the Bible. One may use the Bible for their own personal well-being and for their spirituality, but it ends there. If Ms. Davis cannot separate these two things then she has no business being a public servant and should probably find a job at her church.

Photo Credit: www.BillionPhotos.com / shutterstock.com

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