By: Robert Vischer
Though her release from jail may have temporarily reduced the drama surrounding Kim Davis’ refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the Kentucky clerk’s case will not be the last that pits a public official’s claim of conscience against our constitutional order. Those of us who believe that the liberty of conscience is an important hallmark of US law may be tempted to rally to Davis’ defense. That temptation should be resisted. We can take conscience seriously and still recognize that the level of deference the community owes conscience is a function, in part, of one’s professional role.
Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/7/14/the-kim-davis-situation-how-to-make-distinctions-when-conscience-and-duty-collide
By: Matthew J. Franck
On June 26 of this year, five justices of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Anthony Kennedy, inflicted a grievous wound on the Constitution by falsely claiming that it requires states to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In an opinion that would be hilarious (for its incompetent reasoning) if its effects were not so tragic, Kennedy and his fellow justices in the majority chose sides with the aggressors in a culture war that has made political prizes out of fundamental pre-political institutions such as marriage and family, and even of the meaning of human dignity—which now comes attached in law to the self-constituting choices of adults, but not to the very lives of the unborn.
Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/7/14/the-kim-davis-case-religious-conscience-and-the-rule-of-law
By: Michael Masinter
Louis XIV supposedly once remarked, “L'etat, c'est moi.” But in the United States, public officeholders like Kim Davis are not the state. Although the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment protects the right of public officials to believe same sex marriages are sinful, the Establishment Clause forbids their offices from having any religion. Yet under the banner of religious accommodation, Ms. Davis seeks to impose her religious objection to same sex marriage on the office she holds. Although some claims for religious accommodations can pose difficult questions, this one does not. Ms. Davis is free to believe as she does, but cannot make those beliefs the religion of the office of the county clerk.
Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/7/14/letat-cest-moi-is-not-a-religious-accomodation
By: Charles C. Haynes
Kim Davis, the now famous county clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, is out of jail and back to work this week. But she is not interfering with the clerks in her office who are processing marriage licenses for same-sex couples.
Davis, who objects to gay marriage on religious grounds, is apparently satisfied that removing her name and position from the licenses sufficiently guards her freedom of conscience.
Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/7/14/in-kentucky-a-win-win-for-the-constitution