Views & Voices

A gay dad’s open letter to the Kentucky county clerk who won’t do her job

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis

Along the metaphorical highway on the journey to LGBT civil rights, there are going to be a lot of collisions. These are the times when willful ignorance runs headlong into justice. Few of these collisions are as fascinating as the wreck taking place in Rowan County, Kentucky. It seems that the American public can’t help but rubberneck and gawk as a cadre of coldhearted counter people — led by a county clerk — rudely deny a polite gay couple their marriage license.

A small melodrama has unfolded. The “good guys” are a couple of Davids — Moore and Ermold — who just want to get married. After decades of LGBT progress, it is totally in their legal rights to do so. The “villain” of this story is a woman named Kim Davis who refuses to issue a marriage license to the couple. She also denied that right to a second couple, James Yates and William Smith Jr.

The governor of the state has told her to comply with the request, as has a federal judge.

Her representation, the right wing Liberty Counsel, has told her to refuse in order to create a high-profile scene that climbs through the judicial appeal process. She calls her homophobia “religious freedom.” But what it really is for the Liberty Council is profit.

As a gay dad, Ms. Davis’s behavior bothers me on multiple levels — particularly when I look at the messages she’s sending to my kinds and their counterparts in LGBT families across the nation. What upsets me first and foremost is her attempt to disparage families like mine and declare us invalid due to her own belief system. Her treatment of two prospective families is humiliating and demeaning. Kids who are in LGBT families — and kids who are LGBT themselves — should not have to live in a world where some government official would prefer they simply not exist.

Second, however, is her own stubborn and self-righteous behavior. I am trying to teach my children the principles of responsibility and citizenship. Ms. Davis violates those principles at every turn.

I have written her a letter.

Dear Ms. Davis,

Over the past few months, I’ve been watching your reaction to the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality for families like mine. Your stance has been both disappointing and confusing.

I understand you’re angry that the fight for marriage equality didn’t go the way you’d hoped. And while I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to persuade you into liking the decision, I expect you, as a public servant, to respect it.

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