I have been following the case of Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky who has refused to let her office issue marriage licenses to all couples because of her opposition to same-sex marriage. She was, of course, sued, and a federal judge threw out her claim that her religious rights were being violated, and ordered her to issue licenses.
The judge did, however, delay the implementation of that ruling until August 31 to allow her to appeal to the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Yesterday, as widely expected, that court summarily denied her request for a stay pending a hearing on her appeal, stating what should have been obvious, that she has almost no chance of success. You can read the ruling here.
In it, the three-judge panel unanimously said:
The request for a stay pending appeal relates solely to an injunction against Davis in her official capacity. The injunction operates not against Davis personally, but against the holder of her office of Rowan County Clerk. In light of the binding holding of Obergefell, it cannot be defensibly argued that the holder of the Rowan County Clerk’s office, apart from who personally occupies that office, may decline to act in conformity with the United States Constitution as interpreted by a dispositive holding of the United States Supreme Court. There is thus little or no likelihood that the Clerk in her official capacity will prevail on appeal.
The ruling cited a precedent that said that “where a public employee’s speech is made pursuant to his duties, “the relevant speaker [is] the government entity, not the individual”.
So that should be the end of it right? Wrong. Because there is no limit to the sheer bloody-mindedness of same-sex marriage opponents like Davis. Today a couple, William Smith Jr. and James Yates that had twice before unsuccessfully tried to get a license, tried once again following the Appeals Court decision and were turned away yet again. An unnamed deputy clerk told them that they felt that they had until August 31 to refuse licenses.
This is nothing other than cussedness. She has lost her case at the Appeals Court level. Her lawyers say that she will appeal to the US Supreme Court but there is almost no chance that they will choose to hear her case. The licenses are undoubtedly going to be issued at some point but like a petulant child holding out until the very end, she wants to delay the inevitable as long as possible.
What will she do on Tuesday, September 1? My guess is that she will still hold out and get a contempt citation from the District Court judge. Then she will have to choose between giving in, resigning, paying ever-increasing fines, or going to jail, the last three being the Christian martyr options.
The question of whether her side will have to pay the legal and court costs of those couples who successfully challenged her, and whether those costs will be borne by taxpayers, will also come up.
What an awful person.