Ashland, Kentucky takes the spotlight of the national news as Kim Davis, Rowen County Clerk, is now in jail for contempt, in lieu of a fine, so she could not interfere with Deputy Clerks ordered to comply with the court order to resume issuing marriage licenses to all according to the law. Davis refused to issue marriage licenses after a Supreme Court ruling made it legal for Gay/Lesbian couples to marry with the full benefits marriage implies. Davis has refused to allow her office to issue marriage licenses to anyone, to not be accused of discrimination against a minority. Davis takes this action based upon her religious convictions, but the Supreme Court refused to hear her appeal based upon her religious conviction.
Decades of legal discrimination, social stigma, and predatory behavior against LGBT people have led to the ruling of the Supreme Court and this current impasse between this personal religious conviction and the law. These religious convictions are not accepted by all Christians. Some Christian Churches are churches of reconciliation. I am proud member of a congregation that is going through the process of becoming a reconciling church. Since 1970, the year I graduated from high school and took my place in the adult community, I have stood up for gays accused of every vile impulse known to humankind.
Not only were gays thought to choose gayness, but were accused of actively trying to subvert the youth of the community to their chosen lifestyle. The nastiness that spewed forth from those who claimed to be Christian was something I could not allow to stand unchallenged. I was often a lone voice, although sometimes, someone would quietly take me aside and tell me they agreed with me. If I had gone to another church, and I in fact did, because I have moved several times in my life, I would only have to face the same attitudes. Some ask why I feel the need to meet this or any other issue? Why don’t I just believe what I believe, and keep quiet?
I am sure that one reason is that I am first generation American on my father’s side. My father who grew up in Germany while Hitler was in power, and took the world to war. Good people stayed quiet, as worse and worse became acceptable. There were small tokens of resistance by brave people, but that will be a blog for another day.
I am sure that another reason is that my Uncle Juergen was gay, and put lie to those comments. People in church were saying those vile things about people like my uncle. People like my uncle just wanted to live their lives. If their partner was sick, they wanted to offer comfort in a hospital setting. They wanted the right to give financial security to their partners upon their death, for financial decisions they made jointly. They wanted to walk down the street, along a beach, or anywhere else without being jeered, threatened, harassed, accosted, and harmed.
Without legal marriage, families could choose to bar visitations in hospital, and other care facilities. Without legal marriage, every penny earned, everything within their possession, and everything they owned, collected, or saved, became the property of their birth family when they died. The birth family was then free to displace the loved partner, and remove all tokens that the rest of us would keep and cherish for the sake of our memories. Without legal protections LGBT people live with fear daily, and were denied the comfort and security given by marriage.
Some call Kim Davis champion of religious protection and freedom. I say Kim Davis represents the worst judgmental, unloving, unforgiving, and intolerant picture of a Christian. If Kim Davis will not step down, then I hope Rowen County, Kentucky citizens will get a recall petition going immediately.