Kim Davis Controversy: KY County Clerks Association Doesn't Have a Position on Marriage Licenses Without a Clerk's Name

Kim Davis is back to work today and media, protesters and a lesbian couple have been there too.
According to the AP, a deputy clerk, Brian Mason has assumed duties of handing out the marriage licenses. A lesbian couple did pick one up this morning with the phrase “pursuant to federal court order” in the place where the clerk’s name should be. Davis and her attorneys aren’t sure they are valid.
I contacted the Kentucky County Clerks Association last week to learn the organization’s position on leaving off a clerk’s name. Contrary to some media reports, the KCCA has not taken a final position on the matter, according to Bill May, spokesman for the organization.
While Davis doesn’t intend to interfere with what Brian Mason decides to do, she will not allow her name to be placed on a license which may mean the licenses aren’t valid in KY.
 

On the Kim Davis Controversy: Should a Christian Judge Refuse to Grant a Divorce Decree?

On his blog, evangelical Judge Tim Fall addresses the situation of being required to grant divorce decrees.

Let’s choose a different situation. My understanding of the Bible says divorce is prohibited except when certain circumstances exist. Can I refuse to grant a divorce decree for a couple who meets the legal requirements for marital dissolution but who do not meet the biblical requirements?

He says he grants a divorce if the couple meets the legal requirements:

On a divorce case, I check the paperwork and if the people meet the legal requirements for a divorce I grant it. I look on the decree as a judicial declaration that these people are entitled to a divorce under the laws of my state. I take this seriously and sign only those papers that meet every requirement.

He also addresses his stance on marrying gay couples which you can read at his blog.
Fall cites Scripture demonstrating that God doesn’t favor divorce. Will Christians now begin refusing to do their jobs regarding the legal aspects of terminating a marriage?
As Fall points out in his article, there has been no call from Christian leaders to block divorces based on conscience. To me, this lack of consistency is an indicator that Davis is being used by her handlers and other Christian leaders to rouse the rabble and create the appearance of persecution.
UPDATE: A TN judge wants a place in the limelight; denies a straight couple a divorce and blames the same-sex marriage ruling for his stance.
 
 

Judge Who Sent KY Clerk Kim Davis to Jail was Appointed by G.W. Bush and Disagreed with Supreme Court Decision on Marriage

David Bunning, the judge who sent KY clerk Kim Davis to federal custody is a Republican son of a Republican former Senator and according to his mother did not agree with the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage.
Bunning’s dad was popular baseball player and Senator Jim Bunning. He is known as a careful jurist and conservative person who jailed Davis because she would likely be able to pay her fines with supporters’ money.
Davis was jailed earlier today because she refuses to issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Religious right political figures have come to her defense, saying she is suffering for her faith. I think she is getting bad advice from her handlers. I don’t see how every county official’s religious beliefs can be accommodated in such matters. Presumably, if consistent, Davis does not believe in believers and unbelievers being married. Would her supporters advocate for her right to refuse a license to religiously mixed marriages?
According to local media coverage, Bunning raised his own religious beliefs in court:

Bunning said he’s Catholic and the Catholic church says you must have an annulment before you can get remarried. He asked: What would prevent a Catholic clerk from not issuing a marriage license to a divorced person?

Exactly.
We are not governed by sectarian interpretations of any Scripture.
 

Which Same-Sex Marriage Related Action is Lawless?

The Supreme Court last week ruled 5-4 that the 14th Amendment required the states to recognize same-sex unions as legal marriages.
Today, the Family Research Council released the following press release:

Family Research Council Commends Texas Officials for Declining to Blindly Follow Five Justices
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a statement calling the U.S. Supreme Court ruling an act of “lawlessness” and provided guidance that “county clerks and their employees retain religious freedoms that may allow accommodation of their religious objections to issuing same-sex ‘marriage’ licenses. The strength of any such claim depends on the particular facts of each case.”
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins issued the following statement in response:
“I find it refreshing and encouraging that state officials are declining to blindly follow five justices who have redefined society’s most fundamental institution — marriage. The Court got it wrong in their ruling and they got it wrong in thinking their edict would force Americans to accept same-sex ‘marriage’ and the corresponding loss of their most basic freedoms. States must ensure the government does not use this ruling to discriminate against those who continue to believe in natural marriage,” concluded Perkins.

The effect of the AG’s opinion appears to be to allow a clerk to avoid doing their duty while referring it to someone who doesn’t mind doing it, analogous to a pharmacist who doesn’t want to fill a script for a drug that might cause an abortion.
Paxton says the Supreme Court ruling was lawless, then he tells the clerks they may not have to comply.
I wonder if the Texas clerks who are fundamentalist Christians explore the sexual morality of the straight couples who request a license before issuing it. If licenses are issued to those who meet the various clerks’ standards, then I suppose Texas could have a hodgepodge of standards which vary from clerk to clerk. Surely, if the clerks’ religious beliefs about same-sex marriage can be honored then a clerk who believes people of different religions shouldn’t marry could decline to issue a license.
There is a word for when government officials decide to do what they want to do instead of what the law requires.
A.G. Paxton, what is that word?

SCOTUS Blog: We Probably Have Two More Opinion Days; No Same Sex Marriage Decision Today

I’ve been watching the Supreme Court blog a bit today. One of the bloggers there just wrote the following in response to this question “So – at the end of tomorrow’s session we’ll find out if there will be opinions or just orders on Monday?”

Tejinder
We’ll definitely know for sure then. But we predict already that there will be opinions on Monday. It’s customary, on the second-to-last opinion day of the Term, for the Chief Justice to announce that the remaining opinions are coming on the next day. He didn’t do that today, so we think we have 2 more opinion days.

So tomorrow or Monday, the news cycle will stop and focus on gay marriage. I intend to have a post on the decision as will nearly all other bloggers.
Many evangelicals have predicted doom and gloom if the Supreme Court issues a ruling in favor of gay marriage. However, I predict the sun will come up the next day and after a lot of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, not much will change. Same-sex couples are getting married and divorced now in most states. Heterosexual couples are still doing that too and will do it no matter what the Supreme Court does. Ministers who don’t want to officiate at same-sex marriages won’t have to.
They are here and I am pretty much used to it.
 

Salon on Mixed Orientation Marriages in the Middle of Same-Sex Marriage Case

digitalcoupleimageYesterday, Salon’s Tracy Clark-Flory examined mixed orientation marriages as a possible new political statement against same-sex marriage. The article was triggered by the amicus brief filed by a Utah attorney on behalf of some people in mixed orientation marriages. She also interviewed me for the article and I am quoted extensively.
While my survey results are still unpublished (I keep getting distracted), the study has helped inform my views on the subject. Some essentially same-sex attracted men and women fall in love with a member of the other sex. While most of these marriages deal with issues other couples don’t have to address, there are many who are quite satisfied with the arrangement. They are not of necessity loveless, passionless marriages. However, the vast majority of these people don’t develop attraction to the other sex in any general sense. The baseline attractions remain about the same. On average, the people I surveyed demonstrated more same-sex attraction, not less.
In my opinion, there is no political benefit for any side in these results and I hope “mixed orientation marriage” doesn’t become the new “ex-gay.” Ex-gay became a political weapon and the political demands turned ex-gay into a caricature. In my view, the experiences of these couples have no relevance to the Supreme Court’s deliberations.

Religious freedom and same-sex marriage: Pew Foundation Q & A

Many comment threads on this blog turn into discussions of same-sex marriage. Well here is a post where that conversation will be on point.
The Pew Foundation yesterday published a Q & A on the topic with “professors Robert W. Tuttle and Ira “Chip” Lupu of The George Washington University Law School to discuss how some states are trying to reconcile these and other potential conflicts between the legalization of gay marriage and the free exercise of religion.”
This is timely given the rush of legislatures in the northeast to enact same-sex marriage statutes. The latest news came from New Hampshire where the governor has threatened a veto unless a religious liberty clause is a part of the legislation. The sticking point is concern over the conscience rights of merchants to refuse to take part in ceremonies or activities involving gay marriage. Governor Lynch wants a wider set of exemptions and some gay marriage supporters want a narrow set of protections of conscience.

Iowa Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

Same-sex marriage in the heart land.
Note the attorney quoted at the end of the article: Richard Socarides. Charles Socarides son. English majors, help me, is that irony?
It seems even clearer to me that this issue will eventually come before the Supreme Court. Can the nation long sustain a patchwork quilt of laws regulating marriage?
Here is the ruling summarized with a link to the full court documents.

California Supreme Court recognizes same-sex marriage right

If you get Google alerts or some similar service, you already know that the California Supreme Court has issued a ruling recognizing a right to marriage for same-sex couples. From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

The state Supreme Court struck down California’s marriage law banning same sex couples from getting married in a historic decision Thursday that declared the law unconstitutional discrimination.
The decision will surely touch off an impassioned political fight.
The 4-3 opinion is the high court’s most important civil rights decision in more than a decade, and it is an epic legal victory for same-sex marriage advocates. California is now the second state in the nation to allow gays and lesbians to be legally married.
According to the opinion, “we determine that the language of section 300 limiting the designation of marriage to a union ‘between a man and a woman’ is unconstitutional and must be stricken from the statute, and that the remaining statutory language must be understood as making the designation of marriage available both to opposite-sex and same-sex couples.”

Email alerts reactions from various groups range from “a full win” by gay groups to “a disregard of California voters” from conservative groups. The November ballot initiative will now be considered an effort to overturn this ruling.
Fallout and reactions:
Presidential candidates reactions
New York Times
Schwarzennegger
Associated Press

Same-sex marriage conversation: What do we know? Part 2

As Part 2 of my series on same-sex parenting research, I am posting the transcript of a presentation delivered at the Catholic University just over a year ago. A section on same-sex marriage was provided after Michael Bailey and prior to my speech at the same comference.

(Quotes removed at the request of Brad Wilcox)

Here is a more socially conservative scholar who comes to an assessment similar to Meezan and Rauch: we don’t know much and not really enough.

Some distinctions are arising in the comments on other threads that should be sharpened going forward. Same-sex adoption of special needs kids should be distinguished from use of reproductive technologies to create kids without hope of knowing a parent of one gender. Whereas some would say public policy should not make these distinctions; others would say it can and should. What data exist to inform these discussions? Are there data that could address these issues? Or is policy to be made on the basis of presuppositional principles? How do we decide which principles apply? I would say the best interest of children would be such a principle. If research finds, on balance, discouraging results from studies of same-sex parenting (however defined), do equal protection arguments for adults trump any potential child consequences? What if research finds that some outcomes are better for same-sex parenting and some are not, then how should public policy take mixed results into account?

Let’s keep talking…