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Thursday, September 3, 2015



On Thursday, September 3, 2015, in Ashland, KY, US Circuit Court Judge David Bunning will conduct a hearing to determine whether Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has committed contempt of court by defying the judge's order that she provide marriage licenses to all applicants in keeping with the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges as well as their decision in late August 2015 to deny Davis' appeal without comment.  Judge Bunning will have the option, if he finds that Davis is in contempt of court, of 1) mandating that the clerk pay hefty fines on a daily basis; 2) ordering that she be jailed until she either resigns from office or decides to comply with the Supreme Court decision; or, 3) a combination of the two previously listed penalties. Most legal experts who have been interviewed in the media have stated they believe the judge will not jail Davis at this hearing but will fine her heavily with a cumulative daily fine and give her one more chance to comply with the law.

It is my opinion that Davis is highly unlikely to comply under the duress of anything less than jail time.  The judge has also ordered all of Davis' deputy clerks to attend the hearing.  Those deputies have also been defying recent court decisions and orders but the common assumption is that their defiance is motivated by the need to obey Davis in order to keep their state jobs.  But it is my opinion that they will be likely to be fined individually at this first hearing.  I also tend to believe they will be polled by the judge as to their individual beliefs about the ongoing events and given the option of offering to issue marriage licenses.

Davis has consistently stated that her defiance is based on her "deeply held religious beliefs" about the sanctity of marriage.  Davis reports that she is a member of the Solid Rock Apostolic Church, an unaffiliated Holiness church at Farmers, KY.  But it has also been common knowledge in Eastern KY and Morehead for several years that Davis has been married four times, divorced three times, and has actually married her current husband twice.  There are also media reports that the record proves that Davis conceived a set of twins with her eventual third husband while married to her first.  These reports also state that when Davis divorced that first husband she married a second who adopted those children conceived with the yet to be married third husband.  Davis is then reported to have been divorced again before eventually marrying the biological father of her children as her third husband.  Quite frankly all this marriage record serves to do is remind me of the old baseball comment that "you have to have a scorecard to know who is in the game".  It is also clearly reason to question any of Davis' stated respect for the sanctity of marriage and perhaps even common decency.

At this point, it is appropriate that I state for the record that I am a 64 year old married heterosexual male who graduated from Morehead State University in2000 as a non-traditional student in my late 40's.  I completed every course for my bachelor's degree on the main campus in Morehead.  I also completed the university's Academic Honors Program and graduated as the Outstanding Student in the Social Work Department and served one year as President of the Non-Traditional Students Organization.  Let it be clearly understand that I know Morehead, KY, quite well and I deeply committed to the long term welfare of the community and all its citizens.  It is also pertinent to say that I was raised in the Old Regular Baptist Church, one of the most conservative forms of Baptist theology.  As a part of my academic and literary work, I have also studied Appalachian serpent handlers extensively for a pending book.  I also maintain ongoing friendships and business relationships with both Mennonite and Amish church members in both KY and IN.  I also believe it should be clearly understood that I am qualified to discuss minority religious beliefs in the Appalachian region.  I gradually came to support the right of all citizens to marry despite the fact that I have had GLBT friends since the 1960's.  As I have watched the Kim Davis story unfold and become a stain on the city of Morehead and Rowan County, I have been appalled at her total disregard for law and the US Supreme Court.  It is my sincere belief that this fiasco has the capacity to serve as a long term negative influence on the community.

I am uncertain about the actual internal motivations of Davis but I doubt the sincerity of her stated support for "the sanctity of marriage".  It is clear to me that she unfit to serve in elective office and deserves jail time until she either resigns from office or agrees to do her job, her entire job, and to issue marriage licenses to any couples who apply just as 117 of the 120 clerks in KY have been doing since the day after the Supreme Court decided the issue.  No person's individual rights can ever be allowed to infringe on the majority and Davis has clearly, singularly, and blatantly attempted to defy the highest court in the land.  She should be jailed immediately.  She should also receive a heavy, daily, cumulative fine.  She should be forced to leave office and this stain should be wiped clear from the image of the greater community.

In general, Morehead has always been one of the more tolerant and forward thinking communities in KY and Appalachia.  It has always benefited from being a university town with a high percentage of educated residents.  Morehead deserves to have its reputation restored.  There is no doubt that the courts will continue to uphold the right of every citizen to marry.  There is no doubt that eventually Kim Davis will leave public office and a generalized sigh of relief will be heard all over KY.  But I envision a time when Morehead, KY, can actually benefit from all this uproar by becoming a destination for same sex couples to come in order to be married.  On September 2, 2015, at least one out of state gay couple came to Morehead to apply for a marriage license.  If the community if relieved of the blight of Kim Davis and embraces the rights of all citizens as it always has, a time can come when Kim Davis is nothing more than a mildly embarrassing memory.  Now lets all just hope that Judge David Bunning once again performs his duty and sends Kim Davis to jail in order afford her some time to think. 


Wayfarin' Stranger said...


It's a shame it had to come to this, but it's a victory for the rule of law and the Constitution. I just wish the opponents would read the Gospels and reflect on Jesus's words. Their actions need to be tempered by love and respect for other people.

Roger D. Hicks said...

I appreciate the comment. Recently, somehow or other, I lost all my prior comments from the blog and have no idea why. I regret that. Thanks for being a regular. I miss your work a great deal. Write something, brother!