On Monday, Casey County, Kentucky clerk, Casey Davis, showed up at his governor’s office without an appointment to get privileged standing for his bigotry against same-sex couples. The governor was out of town, but Davis told the State Journal he had an “inspirational moment” after celebrating the Fourth of July. “The part of our national anthem that talks about the bombs bursting in air and how our flag was still there made me think of how those men and women were persecuted (during the American Revolution) and homosexuals were afforded their rights and I’m afforded mine.”
The privilege he wants is for the government to set up a website to sell marriage licenses so that he can perform his job “without it conflicting with [his] religious beliefs.” He also said, “I want [Governor Beshear] to call a special session about it. My solution would be to what everybody else called the law of the land, is to have an online issuance for marriage licenses so it takes it out of the hands of the individual.” And, “I think I deserve some sort of relief, that I took my oath to do this job to the best of my ability so help me God,” Davis said. “I cannot go beyond what my conscience allows.”
Thomas Weddle, the attorney for Casey County, said Casey Davis is wrong on this issue and has two choices. Casey can find a deputy clerk who will do the job or be removed from his job as County Clerk. Mr. Weddle might well have added that Davis is free to do as a similarly-situated counterpart in Mississippi did and resign himself.
All three options point to this fact: Davis does not want to do his job. His claim of religious beliefs is merely an attempt to give socially acceptable cover to bigotry. That can work in the private sector or if the employee works for a church. Not so for someone holding government office and who perforce must be willing to serve taxpayers – any and all taxpayers who ask him and expect him to do his job. Such a person admits outright they are unwilling to do what they have sworn to do and want someone else to do constitutionally-mandated work for them. Davis’s song and dance about an “inspirational moment” amounts to asking taxpayers to accommodate his bigotry. He’s not asserting his religious rights, he’s claiming he is entitled to special treatment.
This is not to say online marriage licensing is a bad idea. The prospect of modernizing service to taxpayers is always a good idea.
But there is something particularly galling about asking for the privilege of having the government support bigotry. We are indeed talking about bigotry here. People choose to be bigots, to disrespect and discommode and even condemn others for who they are. That is exactly what Davis is doing.
And stupidly at that. As Republicans are so happy to point out regarding online health insurance exchanges, there can be problems with websites, meaning that eventually some applicants will have to have contact with a human being. Also, someone has to set up the system in the first place, and someone else has to test it and someone else again will have to approve it. And since it’s Casey’s idea, he ends up assisting in the very thing he opposes anyway.
Just another example of how bigotry, stupidity and demands for special privileges go hand in hand.
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Ms. Woodbury has a graduate degree in political science, with a minor in law. She is a qualified expert on political theory with a specific interest in the nexus between political theories and models and human rights.
Based on her interest in human rights and the threats that authoritarian regimes are to them, Ms. Woodbury’s masters thesis examined the influence of politics on the enforcement of international criminal law was cited in several academic studies.
Published work includes case summaries for the War Crimes Research Office.
She has an extensive background doing legal research in international and domestic law.
Ms. Woodbury’s work for politicusUSA includes articles on voting rights, the right to asylum and other civil/human rights.