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Davis shines light on the continued struggle for marriage equality in America


On June 26, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal. People freaked out. Facebook profile pictures were glossed in rainbow colors, the hashtag “#LoveWins” went viral on Twitter and even the White House joined in on the excitement with a rainbow-colored lights display.

Surrounded by so much joy and celebration (I couldn’t imagine same-sex marriage being a divisive issue anymore.) The nation was finally united. Love had won.

Or so I thought. It turns out, however, that great change doesn’t happen overnight. Almost three months later, controversy continues to arise over same-sex marriage.

Kim Davis, a county clerk in Morehead, Kentucky, was released from jail on Wednesday after refusing to grant same-sex couples their marriage licenses. Supporters of Davis argue that this is a matter of religious freedom. By granting same-sex couples their marriage licenses, she would be permitting an act that goes against her religious beliefs.

Davis’s right to religious freedom absolutely shouldn’t be taken away. No one is asking her to say that same-sex marriage is right. She is simply being asked to say that same-sex marriage is legal.

But if you still believe that this is an issue of religious freedom, it’s important to remember that Davis is a public official.

Personal beliefs can’t be used to create public policy. If Davis was willing to allow her deputy clerks to issue same-sex marriage licenses, she probably wouldn’t have gone to jail in the first place. She was refusing to let anyone under her authority give out the licenses, and even now, she continues to insist that the same-sex marriage licenses given out in her absence should be voided. She has been using her individual beliefs to go against the public will, and as a public official, that is the opposite of what she should be doing.

Many people who support same-sex marriage seem to view the Kim Davis story as a non-issue. Although she was released on Wednesday, her judge has already threatened to add more sanctions if she continues to refuse to issue marriage licenses. She seems to serve as more of a political talking point for Mike Huckabee than an actual threat to marriage equality. But I remain uneasy.

As I stated before, Davis’s case was considerably weakened by the fact that she is a public official.

If she was a private business person, her decision probably would have been considered legal in Kentucky because there is no law in that state prohibiting discrimination against same-sex couples. In my home state, Nebraska, it is legal to refuse to hire someone based on their sexual orientation.

If you support marriage equality, it is important to realize that until all states have outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation, love has not won. As long as people like Kim Davis are out there, we have to keep fighting.




  1. Billy September 20, 2015

    I still stand for Kim Davis and pray for her and all the people who are lost and going to Hell by good work or deed and our country heading down the road of judgement of God and the only way that God repent of this evil he about to do in this land if first of all if God people who called by his name and pray and humble those self please turn to Jesus Christ as your Savoir and Lord and do it today don’t wait till it to late.

  2. Keith Pullman September 22, 2015

    There is still so much work to do.

    1) There are still adults in the US who do not have the freedom to marry (or even simply be with) the person(s) they love, including many LGBT people.

    2) Other countries need help, including from the US, to move towards marriage equality.

    3) As covered in this article, marriages will need protection in legislatures, administrations, and courts. Even though a decision by the US Supreme Court should settle the matter in the US, there are still going to be attacks, foot-dragging, noncompliance, and all sorts of ways marriages will be denied equal treatment. Many people can testify that having specific civil rights legislation in place has not ensured everyone has their rights; vigilance is needed.

    4) Supreme Court decisions have been reversed before. A 5-4 decision isn’t a safe as we’d like to believe. A new President will be elected in 2016. Will the new President make the right appointments to the Court and lower courts?

    5) We need a federal Marriage Equality Amendment.

    Let’s keep going until every adult, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, or religion is free to share love, sex, residence, and marriage (and any of those without the others) with any and all consenting adults, without fear of prosecution, bullying, or discrimination.

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