Kim Davis, gay marriage, and the death of Christian privilege in America

Arrested for denying marriage licenses to gay couples, Kim Davis is now being championed by the Republican candidates as a hero. Her imprisonment signals the end of Christian privilege in the US. Spencer Kimball reports.

A gay couple, surrounded by media, stands at the counter in the county clerk’s office and asks to be served. They would like a marriage license. Two months earlier, the highest court in the United States had legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

But in this small county in the state of Kentucky, the clerk obeys laws different than those weighed by the Supreme Court. Kim Davis, an evangelical Christian, refuses to issue the marriage license. When asked by the couple under what authority, she responds: “God’s authority.”

Davis was ultimately found in contempt of court and arrested. Though now in jail, she’s still officially the county clerk in Rowan County. As an elected official, Davis can only be removed from office by the state legislature. She receives a salary of $80,000 (72,000 euros) a year from the taxpayer.

Bill Leonard is a Baptist minister and an expert on American religious life at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. According to Leonard, if Davis can’t fulfill the oath she took as county clerk to execute the laws of the land, she should resign.

“It’s fine for her to oppose this on the basis of liberty of conscience, a lot of people do that,” Leonard told DW. “But she’s contradicting the oath she took. She can’t have it both ways. She can’t keep making $80,000 a year and not fulfill her oath.”

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US Supreme Court rules in favor of gay marriage nationwide

(By Deutsche Welle) The US Supreme Court has ruled in favor of marriage equality. Though same-sex couples can now marry nationwide, LGBT Americans remain vulnerable to discrimination in other areas of life.

Jim Obergefell was never an activist.

He led the mild-mannered life typical of people in Ohio. Obergefell and his long-time partner, John Arthur, were open in their professional and social lives. But they weren’t actively involved in the gay rights movement.

“Our brand of activism was where do I sign the check,” Obergefell said.

A former German teacher turned real estate agent, he found acceptance among family, friends and co-workers after coming out in 1992. But Cincinnati, the Ohio city where he lived, also had an intolerant side at the time.

In 1993, voters approved an amendment that stripped gay and lesbian residents of their status under the city’s non-discrimination law. The amendment even banned Cincinnati’s City Council from passing future legislation that would protect gays and lesbians.

“There’s no other way to phrase it – it was just pure hatred for the gay community,” Obergefell said.

Cincinnati has come a long way since those days. Voters repealed the amendment in 2004, and City Council passed new legislation in 2006 shielding the LGBT community from discrimination in housing and employment.

The city also supported Obergefell in his battle for marriage equality, which took the 49-year-old all the way to the nation’s highest court in Washington, D.C.

The Supreme Court on Friday ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutionally protected right to marry in all 50 states.

“It’s amazing to me that our decision to stand up and say we’re tired of being second class citizens has the potential to impact our entire country – millions of people,” Obergefell said.

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