The legal status of Kentucky’s marriage licenses

And so it came to pass that same-sex couples received marriage licenses this morning from the Rowan County clerk’s office.

A gay couple emerged from the office of a defiant county clerk with a marriage license in hand Friday morning, embracing and crying after a lengthy standoff that landed the clerk in jail for her refusal to issue the licenses because she opposed same-sex marriage.

William Smith Jr. and James Yates, a couple for nearly a decade, were the first to receive a marriage license Friday morning in Rowan County. Deputy clerk Brian Mason issued the license, congratulating the couple and shaking their hands as he smiled. After the couple paid the license fee of $35.50, James Yates rushed across the steps of the courthouse to hug his mom as both cried.

A crowd of supporters cheered outside as the couple left, with a street preacher raining down words of condemnation. Yates and Smith said they are trying to choose between two wedding dates and plan a small ceremony.

[Read more…]

This is getting to be even more of a circus

Five of the six deputy clerks in the Rowan County clerk’s office decided that issuing marriage licenses to all who are legally entitled to them is perhaps not such a bad idea since David Bunning, the federal judge overseeing the case, told them that their only other option is to join Kim Davis is federal custody for contempt. Interestingly, and I am not sure why this was not more widely known before today, the sixth deputy who is still holding out happens to be her own son Nathan Davis. While a touching sign if filial loyalty, this also smacks of nepotism.
[Read more…]

Kim Davis is being hung out to dry

As Rowan County clerk Kim Davis goes to federal court today at 11:00 am to explain to the judge why she should not be held in contempt of court for violating court orders to do her job and issue marriage licenses, she may want to consider that the support for her position is not great from high-profile Republicans. Simon Maloy has rounded up the reactions of Republican presidential candidates. Certified nutcases Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal of course back Davis. Kentucky senator Rand Paul was vaguely supportive of Davis in an obfuscatory way designed to give him some flexibility to back away. Carly Fiorina, on the other hand, urges Davis to give up or resign. The other candidates, and senate majority leader Mitch McConnell who represents Kentucky, all seem to be ducking the issue. [UPDATE: Caitlin MacNeal provides more information on the candidates’ views.]
[Read more…]

What next for Kentucky?

I thought it interesting that US District Judge David Bunning requested that not only Rowan County clerk Kim Davis attend the hearing tomorrow at 11:00am following her defiance of his order but that all six of her deputy clerks attend as well. All of them are authorized to issue licenses too. It is known that four of them support her stance, one does not care much either way, and the sixth is willing to issue licenses. But all have been forbidden to do so by their boss on the grounds that since it is her name of the forms, that means she will go to hell even if the signature is that of her deputy, because her god is not very smart and unable to pick up on such subtleties
[Read more…]

The new Republican problem: Not enough presidential candidates

When the primary process started, the Republican party was smugly satisfied with how things were turning out. There were a lot of candidates, a few too many perhaps, but they could look forward to a steady process where everyone but Jeb Bush, the one favored by the party establishment, would fade away and he would emerge as the winner, with a huge amount of money support. If for some reason he stumbled, there were other acceptable candidates like Scott Walker who would get the nomination. The party bragged about its ‘deep bench’ of candidates, compared to the Democrats who seemed to have Hillary Clinton and no one else.
[Read more…]

Outdoing the Willie Horton ad

Older readers may recall the infamous Willie Horton ad that was unleashed during the 1988 presidential election by the campaign of George H. W. Bush against Michael Dukakis that implied that Dukakis was responsible, as governor of Massachusetts, for the weekend furlough program of a criminal who went on to commit rape and assault. It has been seen as a high-water mark of vicious campaign tactics.
[Read more…]

Stories that will make your blood boil

Jamycheal Mitchell, a 24-year old mentally ill black man, was found dead in his jail cell. That is bad enough but what makes it even worse is that he had been held in jail for four months without bail after being “accused of stealing a bottle of Mountain Dew, a Snickers bar and a Zebra Cake worth a total of $5.” Four months in jail without bail for stealing $5 worth of merchandise? How can that be even possible?
[Read more…]