The governor of Kentucky, being sued by Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis for refusing to protect her religious rights under the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, is arguing that his orders to clerks to issue “same-sex marriage” licenses didn’t really matter because it was the U.S. Supreme Court that created the status across America.
That makes, his attorneys said in a brief that descends to calling names, Davis’ claims that he should have done more “forlorn” and “absurd” and “obtuse.”
But that’s missing the point, her attorneys explained on Thursday.
“Whether or not the state of Kentucky must provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples does not answer the question of whether Gov. Beshear must accommodate Davis’ sincerely held religious belief about marriage,” said a statement from Liberty Counsel
“The First Amendment of the United States Constitution, the Kentucky Constitution and the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act all require that he does. Having unsuccessfully tried to veto the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Gov. Beshear may not be a fan of the law, but he is still obligated to enforce it and comply with it.”
The legal team that has defended Davis in her fight to protect her religious rights continued, “This is not the first time Gov. Beshear has tried to avoid having to respond to Davis’ claims in federal court. The Sixth Circuit on September 15, 2015, denied a similar motion filed by Beshear to dismiss Davis’ appeal.”
“Unfortunately, having run out of legal arguments, Gov. Beshear has now resorted to childish antics and name-calling,” said Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel. “This appears to be yet another obvious attempt by the governor at avoiding the actual merits of Kim Davis’ religious liberty claims.”
“One thing is clear: Governor Beshear will have to answer in court for his failure to act to protect Kim Davis’ religious freedom.”
Davis spent nearly a week in jail on the orders of U.S. District Judge David Bunning when she refused to violate her Christian faith and issue “same-sex marriage” licenses as he ordered her to do.
Her action followed the Supreme Court’s June ruling that created “same-sex marriage,” a ruling that was blasted by four members of the court as unconnected to the Constitution and likely to be used to persecute Christians in the U.S.
Davis sued Beshear for refusing to make an accommodation so that people seeking those “same-sex marriage” licenses could do so without forcing her to violate her religious beliefs.
Now he’s trying to get her lawsuit against him for those actions dismissed.
His attorneys said, “Davis’ role is a legal one – not a moral or religious one.”
Beshear argued in a court filing, Liberty Counsel explained, that he has no duty to provide any religious accommodations to county clerks like Davis who have deep religious convictions against endorsing “same-sex marriage” licenses – despite the requirements of the state RFRA.
Beshear had sent a letter to county clerks when the Supreme Court’s ruling was issued that the Supreme Court “dictates … how we must act.”
The controversy arose with Davis because, even though they would have been able to obtain their licenses in dozens of other locations, several duos sued her specifically to force her to violate her faith.
They are still trying – with their latest effort to have a federal judge order her to reissue licenses they obtained while she was jailed – this time with her signature.
While the current argument is before Bunning, Davis already has several appeals pending at the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which this week granted her motion to consolidate for argument.
Among the issues already at the appellate level are Bunning’s order jailing her, his decision then to change that order after it already was on appeal, and others.
At the higher court, while three judges refused Davis’ request for an injunction against the governor, they also refused his demands to throw out the case.
Staver told WND that the case now will move forward with a briefing and oral arguments against the governor.
The legal team chief said his organization is working with Davis on a permanent accommodation for her religious beliefs.
“Lest anyone think what Kim Davis is facing is unique to her, you would be wrong. She is one of millions of people in the public and private sector whose deeply held religious convictions will collide with the opinion of the five Supreme Court justices issued just over two months ago,” he said.
One prominent religious leader, Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, author of the New York Times bestseller “The Harbinger” and the inspiration behind the “Isaiah 9:10 Judgment” movie, before the opinion was released, challenged the Supreme Court’s assumption that it even could rule on marriage.
“The justices of the Supreme Court took up their seats [in a hearing] on whether they should strike down the biblical and historic definition of marriage,” he said at a Washington prayer event. “That the event should even take place is a sign this is America of [George] Washington’s warning … a nation at war against its own foundation.”
He noted the court opens with the words “God save the United States and this honorable court.”
“If this court should overrule the word of God and strike down the eternal rules of order and right that heaven itself ordained, how then will God save it?”
He challenged the Supreme Court directly: “Justices, can you judge the ways of God? There is another court and there another judge, where all men and all judges will give account. If a nation’s high court should pass judgment on the Almighty, should you then be surprised God will pass judgment on the court and that nation? We are doing that which Israel did on the altars of Baal.”
See Jonathan’s Cahn’s message at Washington: Man of Prayer event at the Capitol last night.
The Wall Street Journal has reported the same issue is developing in other cases across the country.
The report said four magistrates in McDowell County, North Carolina, are among the 32 magistrates in the state who have recused themselves from doing wedding ceremonies for anyone – a move allowed under state law.
In Alabama, half a dozen county probate judges, who oversee marriage licenses, aren’t providing them to any couples.
Similar cases have arisen in other parts of the country, too.