Gay Marriage

Rand Paul Is Wrong About Kim Davis

By refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, the Kentucky county clerk is not "exercising [her] religious liberty."



Yesterday U.S. District Judge David Bunning sent a county clerk in Kentucky to jail for contempt of court after she defied his order to resume issuing marriage licenses despite her religious objections to same-sex unions. Kim Davis, the Rowan County clerk, stopped issuing licenses after the Supreme Court ruled that bans on gay marriage violate the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection. Is Davis a contemporary George Wallace, defying a Supreme Court decision protecting the civil rights of her fellow citizens, or a brave champion of religious freedom? One of her senators, Rand Paul, apparently leans toward the latter view.

During a Boston radio interview on Tuesday, as Scott Shackford noted here, Paul responded to a question about Davis by saying that "people who do stand up and are making a stand to say that they believe in something is an important part of the American way." Yesterday, after Bunning's contempt ruling, the libertarian-leaning presidential contender told CNN, "I think it's absurd to put someone in jail for exercising their religious liberty. I think it's a real mistake, and even those on the other side of the issue, I think it sets their movement back."

The power of judges to lock people up indefinitely for contempt is indeed troubling, and Bunning's order, which went beyond what the plaintiffs requested (a fine), seems excessive. Furthermore, as Paul suggests, putting Davis in a cage may enhance her status as a conservative martyr and erode sympathy for the cause of marriage equality. But is Davis simply "exercising [her] religious liberty" by refusing to do her job? No. If she believes it's a sin to facilitate gay marriages, the honorable thing for her to do would be to resign. People cannot, in the name of religious liberty, insist on keeping a job when they are unwilling to perform the duties it entails.

That goes for private as well as government employees. If Davis took a job that required her to photograph gay weddings or bake cakes for them, she would have no right to reject those tasks on religious grounds and expect to keep the job.

But the fact that Davis works for the government adds another dimension to her defiance. The government, unlike private businesses, is constitutionally obligated to treat all citizens equally under the law. The Supreme Court has said that obligation means states must issue marriage licenses to couples without regard to their sexual orientation. As a representative of her state's government, Davis is obligated to comply with that requirement, just as county clerks who objected to marriages between people of different races (even on religious grounds) were obligated to issue licenses for such marriages after the Court concluded that bans on miscegenation violated the 14th Amendment.

As a private citizen, of course, Davis is free to take whatever view of gay marriage she believes is required by her faith, and she should be free to act on that view, provided she does not violate anyone's rights in the process. Hence Davis, if she decided to quit her job and open a bakery or a photography business, should not be legally compelled to participate in gay weddings, and neither should any other baker or photographer. This distinction between state action and private action, which Paul clearly understands, is vital to a free society, and Paul is dangerously blurring it by suggesting that Davis has a First Amendment right to violate the 14th Amendment.

NEXT: Your Kind Isn't Welcome

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. If she believes it’s a sin to facilitate gay marriages, the honorable thing for her to do would be to resign. People cannot, in the name of religious liberty, insist on keeping a job when they are unwilling to perform the duties it entails.


    1. I agree,although I’d like to see many more public officials sent to jail for not doing their job or ignoring the law,cops included

      1. Careful what you wish for, do you really want more cops doing their “job”?

        1. Only if it involves upholding the constitution against enemies foreign and domestic and bearing true faith and allegiance to the same.

      2. Sanctuary cities?

        Officials who refuse to issue carry permits?

        1. Look at it from a rights perspective. Sanctuary cities are not violating rights, they are extending them to individuals who are not citizens. Concealed carry permits, if denied by officials, are violating the rights of their citizens.

          Government controls on borders which are as severe as those here in the U.S. violate the rights, not only of non-citizens, but of citizens who are denied the right to freedom of association and to their property (if they choose to house, employ or associate with those non-citizens).

          Refusing to issue marriage permits is a violation of the rights of gay couples.

          This woman, as an elected official, has no “religious rights” (in the capacity of her job). She has obligations to the rights of a public she is sworn to defend.

          There is no inconsistency here.

          If you are a libertarian and you fail to recognize this then you are no libertarian.

          1. Sanctuary cities are not violating rights…
            Tell that to Kate Steinle…..Oh….wait….you can’t.

          2. You conflate positive and negative rights, and miss what is not seen.

            Legal marriage is an imposition upon the rest of society that compels provision of special rights and subsidy. Expanding marriage is like trying to achieve justice by giving more people a subsidy.

            Sanctuary cities are moral as long as the consequences of their policies only affect themselves. But, at least in principle, agreements on mutual defense may constrain immigration.

            Davis’s behavior is civil disobedience and should be expected to be punished as such. Nevertheless, it is also hypocritical to punish her given the many other abuses of power which have gone unpunished.

            Such selective enforcement of the law is unjust. We are increasingly a nation of men and not of laws.

          3. That’s “Libertarian”. People who have the desire to decrease illegal immigration are definitely not Libertarian. But, they seem to represent most of the country, right now! If the illegals are choosing to steal our tax money, through federal assistance, they are a threat to the country, and all of the taxpayers!! Is that not compatible with libertarian principles?

    2. It could be said that resigning would facilitate gay couples receiving marriage licenses from her replacement, so resigning could be construed as contributing to sin.

      The proper course is for Kentucky to adopt the Oklahoma model.

      1. You’re having a hard time acknowledging that public officials, which this woman is, are servants of the public. When they fail to discharge their obligations to that public they do so, not as rights-holding citizens, but as public servants who refuse to serve those they are sworn to serve.

    3. No. The honorable thing to do would be to get her county out of the marriage licensing business. Just say no to marriage licenses: homosexual, heterosexual, binary, plural, whatever.

      Her constituents do not want her to issue homosexual marriage licenses. She can only legitimately act in her office with the consent of the governed. The only reasonable way around this would be to quit issuing licenses altogether. Of course that would require a libertarian epiphany to complement her religious conviction.

      How is it that Reasonoid libertarians love national directives on moral norms and hate local democracy?

      It almost seems that conservative critics are correct about libertarians: they only care their feelings for ass sex, weed, and open borders. With the former, the Reasonoid favors strict national enforcement of gay-friendly moral norms regardless of local opinions; whereas with the latter two, the Reasonoid favors local opinions regardless of national law.

        1. The Institute for Justice’s Clint Bolick hung a name on this local anti-liberty trend quite a while ago: Grassroots Tyranny!

          Lady should have the courage of her convictions and quit.

          Kevin R

          1. Or, go to jail……and she still gets paid.

      1. Check your premise.

        How is it that Reasonoid libertarians love national directives on moral norms and hate local democracy?

        It is false.


        1. A person may do as they choose provided they do not infringe on the rights of others.
        2. The only legitimate function of government is to protect the rights of the individual.

        Positions have nothing to do with national vs local AND, certainly, have nothing to do with the will (tyranny) of the majority. Individuals have the right to equal protection under the law and it is a legitimate function of government to protect that right.

        1. Bingo. Why don’t people get this? We lost the states’ rights argument awhile ago, so the next best thing is preserving equal protection.

        2. Government cannot by nature protect the rights of individuals because it takes away the rights they were born with and issues them back out with caveats and disclaimers on how the individual may or may not use them, under the premise that a magical group of all knowing humans somehow can determine how best to use your faculties over you.

          only the corrupt are attracted to power, only the corrupt will claim a right to govern others who have given no such consent.

        3. Those tenets are for negative rights, not arbitrary positive rights like legal marriage.

          And to the extent that a democracy is used to implement those tenets, localization emerges as a moral principle to maximize voluntarism / non-aggression.

      2. You are one stupid fuck, really.

    4. Kentucky has state laws barring gay marriage. Davis is a Kentucky clerk, not a federal clerk. Moreover, the Kentucky law was enacted via the democratic, representative process. The Supreme Court decision was not; it was made by judicial fiat in a non-democratic manner.

      So, if she believes she is violating both Kentucky law and her own religious conscience, she has a duty as an ELECTED SERVANT to serve her constituents in a worthy manner. This is absolutely about religious liberty. How can forcing an ELECTED official out of office for failing to follow a law she believes to violate her religious beliefs and her state laws be ok? The proper process is to VOTE HER OUT.

      1. She swore an oath to the Constitution, which trumps state law, for starters.

        1. Technically the 9th amendment makes gay marriage a state issue, but i guess that only applies to the War on Drugs for you

          1. shit 10th and the 9th makes it an individual issue, since the states only claimed a right to define marriage as a means for segregation of whites and blacks anyways

    5. Yes, the honorable thing would be to resign. However, she chose not to. I think her choice was driven less by her beliefs and more by the fact that she holds an $80K job in a county where 1/3 of households live below the poverty line.

      Not that I’m a cynic or anything.

      1. Well that, and the chance to be held up nationally as the “champion of religious liberty” by socons and the like. I think she saw her opportunity to be famous and took it.

  2. ” The government, unlike private businesses, is constitutionally obligated to treat all citizens equally under the law.”

    except cops, judges, current and former politicians

    1. Which is why I don’t see how any Libertarian could ever justify the jailing of even an elected official for failing to give someone a piece of paper saying the state blesses your marriage.

      I’d like to see more government agents refusing to follow the law and more internal conflict. Maybe it will give these judges and cops their much needed comeupance.

      1. I don’t think many libertarians want her in jail. They do want her removed from office.

        Libertarians also don’t want state-sanctioned marriages, but if state-sanctioned marriages are being used to deprive lots of people the ability to enter a marriage contract, then we should hardly support this clear discrimination under the law just in the name of this other principle.

  3. This judge is really only hurting the good people of Bummphuk County, Kentucky, who elected this woman to collect a paycheck. Those voters are the ones who should fire her when the next election rolls around whenever that is and when there’s a palatable opposing candidate. Until such time your God-given right to a marriage contract with the state can just cool its jets.

    1. And if the voters reelect her? Which of your rights are you willing to forgo indefinitely?

      1. Just get married without the state’s approval. Why do you need the blessing of allmighty government to get married? It’s not like they’re going to arrest you for being gay married.

        1. You apparently have no idea why gay marriage entered the courts to being with.

          1. So gays were getting arrested for calling themselves married? I must have missed that one.

            1. People whose marriages are not done legally are deprived of many things. Have you been asleep the last 5 years, or do you prefer to live in a libertarian fantasyland? Do you own a car? Does it have a valid license plate? If so I cannot imagine how you can justify driving it.

              1. Golly, you’re purty smart!

                You done got me convinsed!

        2. Agree, I don’t know why so many people think they need a bullshit government license. It’s main function is to collect money for things they have no business being involved in.

          1. For some, it’s the entitlements that come with it. For others, it’s seen as something kin to public acceptance. Most, I believe, simply never considered it anything but de rigueur.

            1. The gay marriage movement is 5% legal entitlements and 95% public acceptance. The opposition to it is 100% about public acceptance. There were ways to deal with the legal entitlement without changing the definition of marriage. Calling it “marriage” was always about public acceptance. The new liberty is bullying people into thinking the way you want them to think.

    2. I was thinking how awesome it would be if these reality show-level hicks would stop confirming the cartoon-like biases of the enlightened, bien pensant Smugbook residents.

      OTOH, it is football season again, so maybe this will shift their sporting urges from politics to something that’s actually interesting.

      1. I’ve read that most locals don’t even agree with her. Anecdotal evidence was that you’re just seeing a vocal minority supporting her, the others don’t really care other than she’s not doing her job. I like to believe that’s true.

    3. I think the exact sequence of events will be: she will remain in jail until she agrees to issue marriage licenses again OR her term of office expires. If she’s re-elected and still refuses she will remain in jail until she agrees to issue marriage license again. Unless a special election is held, it’s her choice to remain in jail. The voters will have the chance to fire her only during the next election. The jail term for contempt of court is up to the one being held in contempt.

  4. Agreed, with one caveat. As has been mentioned by many, a fine would probably have been paid, perhaps indefinitely, by her supporters, and so rendered ineffective. That would have further delayed the right of gay people to marry. The bad habit judges have of jailing people indefinitely for contempt rarely extends to elected officials. It’s hard to see what other remedy the judge could employ since he hasn’t the authority to remove her from office.

    Paul’s defense of her “freedom” to discriminate as a public official is closer to George Wallace at the University of Alabama than to anything reasonably called libertarian. Paul is either disingenuous or stupid. Given the inconsistency of his views and the impotence of his campaign, I think equal doses of both are likely.

    1. As somebody had pointed out on another thread regarding R ick Perry, he may have trouble articulating his beliefs because they aren’t really his beliefs. Rand insists he’s not his father and he’s not libertarian, he’s a Republican. If he’s a ‘libertarian-ish’ Republican, you gotta wonder where he buys into libertarianism and where he parts company and how he makes a principled distinction. If you say you’re for equal rights for all and a live-and-let-live attitude toward everybody (except for those filthy nasty Bulgarians we should all go kill) well then you’re not really for equal rights for all and a live-and-let-live attitude toward everybody. There’s no universal principle there if you exclude Bulgarians. So what principle, libertarian or otherwise, is Rand applying here? I think the principle may be the same principle every other politician uses, I like what I like and I don’t what I don’t and it’s okay when I do it.

      1. His libertarianism seems to be largely ad hoc and opportunistic. His opposition to the Iran deal shows that he’s definitely not libertarian enough.

      2. “R – ick”

        /The Electric Company

  5. This woman is just confused–very much so. There is no Christian injunction toward serving homosexuals or any other “sinner.” In fact, there is a considerable amount of teaching to the contrary, the least of which is the render unto Caesar concept. If she refused to serve gays, she should also refuse liers.

    1. Refusing to serve gays and refusing to recognize gay marriage are two different things. Refusing to serve liars and refusing to say “lying is ok” are also two different things.

      1. Their are times lying is the right thing to do

      2. She can serve gays in her official capacity and continue to not “recognize” them inside her own head. Or she could just admit that can’t do her job for religious reasons and resign.

        1. You know this issue would be far more simple if the government just got the hell out of marriage.

          As it stands today I can’t see anyway that government can define marriage without violating someone’s rights in some way.

          1. Unfortunately, those who say this have waited until gays got the right to be married to start making that argument. It’s pretty transparent.

        2. Or, she could have a libertarian epiphany, and realize that she shouldn’t issue marriage licenses at all.

          1. Cato, I thought she had stopped issuing licenses to all couples, not just gay couples.

            1. She did, and forbid others from doing the same, although it certainly wasn’t a libertarian epiphany.

      3. @Trump’s Whatever

        To make your views clear, do you think the woman is justified in refusing to issue marriage licenses to gays?

        1. I don’t think the government should be issuing marriage licenses at all is my position.

          1. Neither do I. Nor do I think government should build roads. But to pretend it doesn’t do these things, and we have to cope with existing realities, is why some libertarians are ridiculed as Libertopians. That you think gays should ignore the real consequences of legally unrecognized marriages reflects naively Utopian views.

          2. The simple fact is that the evolution of moral opinions regarding homosexuality have created a new source of conflict within civil society. The state’s involvement with marriage licensing exacerbates that conflict, which is precisely what the state should not do.

            In the past, traditionalists said “my way, or the highway”. Now, libertines say “my way, or the highway” concerning marriage licensing. The only libertarian resolution — that is, the resolution that reduces conflict — is for the state to get out of the marriage licensing business.

            After centuries of oppression, I can understand why the libertine wing of the libertarian movement would join libertines of all parties in tormenting traditionalists with state recognition of homosexual marriage. That does not make licensing of homosexual marriage libertarian.

            Marriage licensing by the state is not essential to the functioning of a modern society. Though it is a relatively new state intrusion on a religious sacrament, it has become archaic. There is no reason for the state to be involved in it other than to confer a phony legitimacy to marriage.

            1. CTC: I could say, “Thank you for the erudition,” but of course libertarians know all that. However, as it stands right now, certain legalities come with a marriage certificate that are difficult to obtain elsewise. Notable among these are the ability to make medical decisions for a life partner and to have rights of survivorship with respect to a partner’s estate; there are others. One could argue that these are wrong, but right now, everyone with a marriage certificate has them, and the only way to get one of those and be equal with the holders before the law is to get a license from the State. That’s not going to change until the legal system develops equivalent language for private civil contracts that confers the same status, and until dispute resolution organizations both private and governmental agree to enforce it. A “civil union” doesn’t quite count, because I don’t think anyone assumes that state permission would not be required to enter into one right now.
              Most roads are provided by the State, and generally you need documents from the State in order to drive on them without interference. If you had the need to drive on State roads, would you be content to have a DMV clerk refuse to grant you those documents and then wait for the legal system to change things so that the DMV became irrelevant?

      4. Yes. And Christianity (like some other religions) is something that one undertakes for oneself. It is not to be pushed onto others. In fact, forcing others to live according to one’s convictions makes no sense. It is not a conviction if one is forced to follow. Therefore, this clerk is out of line by denying a license to gays according to her own religious convictions. She should leave it up to them to decide what kind of lifestyle they will follow and keep her morality to herself.

        1. That hasn’t been true about Christianity since the (faked) Donation of Constantine.

          For the first half century of the republic some of the states had established churches, and before that it was the Church of England, and marriage was inextricably bound up in both religion AND the state.

          Between the disestablishment of the Congregationalists in Massachusetts and court decisions “incorporating” the Bill of Rights into the Constitution as liberties the states had to respect, there was a gap where any state could have, if the wanted to, established a church. SCOTUS didn’t strike that down until 1947!

          Search for Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 (1947)

          Kevin R

      5. She’s not being asked to recognize gay marriage. She’s being asked to attest to true facts on an application for a marriage license. She’s a glorified notary public.

    2. “If she refused to serve gays, she should also refuse liers.”

      Did the people of Kentucky, through a constitutional amendment, instruct her and other public officials not to recognize marriages among “liers”?

      1. Were you ever able to find where that binary definition of marriage is enshrined in U.S. Law? You never got back to me on that one.

  6. Was she issuing marriage contracts or marriage licenses?

    Ron Paul and others had the correct take on this thing, although criticized for being old-fashioned, libertarian sticklers. This whole episode is yet another opportunity for drama queens and pontificators. A waste of time and energy, but great for hysterics. And one of many past and future examples of the failure to take seriously the (avoided) debate over the question of role of the state in granting _licenses_ that authorize what is claimed to be a basic right.

    1. An excellent point! How can the government be in the business of licensing what is supposed to be a God given right? It would be like require a license to exercise your freedom of speech, or to purchase a gun.

      1. God given right? There are no God given rights anymore – Lord Obama, a formerly majority Democrat Congress, and Chief Justice John Roberts have decreed that you shall now pay an Obamacare Breathing Tax for the enjoyment of your rights.

    2. An entirely unrealistic view that ignores the many practical implications, dealing with such things as inheritance and adoption, of a marriage that is not legally recognized.

      1. nicmart, are you claiming that a living will or civil union contract would not address “many practical implications”? Would a civil union contract not be considered legally recognized?

      2. Yours is the widely adopted lazy brush off that helps keep this truly stupid, over-the-top teleseries going. If there are some anticipated frictions of ending licensing, they are addressable. Recognizing, or having some contract registry, is not licensing. (Even the word recognizing evokes some sanctifying power of the state.) As for realism or no, there certainly is no urgency for government licensing, or consecration by another name, to sort out inheritance, adoption and so on. Just as a basic reference, common law marriages and the common law generally has handled this well, having a history starting long before buttinskies pushed for state licensing. Anyway, treating all marriages under the common law would be unnecessary, but it is a very real institution that exposes the excuse of “unrealistic” as a reason to avoid the basic question of whether or not the state should be in the “licensing” business in the first place.

        Maintaining the show of statist sanctification of marriage as a public relations tool for gay acceptance, now that same-sex marriages are in the big tent, comes with a cost (not the least in terms of this type of religious Kentucky BS) which libertarians should not just wave away as an inconvenience.

        And all this bs will become all the more drama-queen stupid when the push for licensing polygamy gains momentum.

        1. I have never been for requiring government licenses as a precondition for getting married.

          But abolishing licenses won’t solve the “problem” of discrimination.

          Because the government will still have to decide which marriages to recognize.

          Under the regime of common-law marriages, the law recognized marriages between opposite-sex couples but not same-sex couples.

          In other words, an opposite-sex couple, in appropriate circumstances, could show a court that they were common-law married and get the benefits of married status. A same-sex couple did not have the same option, since their relationships were not recognized as marriages.

          Yes, by all means don’t force people to get licensed as a condition of marriage. Don’t claim, though, that this will solve the “problem” of same-sex couples being “discriminated” against. And don’t claim it will get the government out of marriage, either.

          1. At the risk of over simplification, the common law is discovered. Unless there are some legislative prohibitions (criminalizing unmarried cohabitation of any sex combo, sodomy, etc.), a brave county or state judge tomorrow could simply declare a same-sex couple Married for purposes of contract law, dividing property and so on, in the same sense that she would declare an opposite-sex couple married, if the facts showed. And although I won’t do the case searching, I strongly suspect that there are many such cases on which to build where a same-sex couple has been treated as married, but not in formal name, for settling inheritance, alimony, property division, etc. I would refer you to a recent, interesting soap-operatic Illinois case involving a state court judge suing former physician partner :


            Note that the court refers to partnership rather than marriage, but a rose by any other name.

            And I won’t claim that discrimination would be magically solved. And, no, the government (the courts in particular) will not be out of marriage any more than it is out of judging the validity of any other type of contract, implicit or explicit, when some dispute arises.

            1. Not all the 50 states have common law marriage, though, do they?

              Kevin R

        2. wef you win the thread

  7. How many dumbass articles can Reason put out re: Rand Paul and his positions? Add one more to the pile! He said that she was exercising her religious liberty because she didn’t want to put her own signature on the paper, NOT because she refused to do her job. In fact, he offered a very sensible compromise and said she could have done everything other than placing her signature on the document. Does Reason have editors?!? Do they care about what they put out or is it just their overall policy to attack the best Constitutional candidate we have had in over a century for President, along with the rest of the mainstream media?!?!

    1. Absolutely correct Harry! How disappointing is it, that a supposed liberty minded outfit like Reason, is now regularly putting out garbage like this, mischaracterizing Dr. Paul’s positions, what he says and what he does, just like the rest of the mainstream media?! Disappointing may not be the best word for it! I, for one, will not forget these articles. This is a pathetic excuse for real journalism. I am going to unsubscribe this very moment.

      1. Hey there, Tulpa. Arguing with yourself again?

      2. This is a pathetic excuse for real journalism. I am going to unsubscribe this very moment.


    2. Jacob Sullum is an editor, and long one of the best libertarian journalists in the business.

    3. Well shit, you mean now I gotta do my own research into what Rand said instead of just going off what somebody said he said? And here I thought maybe I had an argument that if Rand were principled he would have to argue that ‘a deeply-held religious conviction’ would allow government officials to refuse service to anyone they please – Muslim DMV agents could refuse to issue driver’s licenses to women, Baptist codes enforcement could refuse to issue building permits to synagogues, Jewish health departments could refuse to issue food service permits to BBQ pork restaurants and Buddhist health departments to all BBQ restaurants, and so on.

    4. harrymaxwell: When it comes to ass sex, Reason has evolved into the journal of the libertine wing of the libertarian movement. As such, it writers advocate that the state should put its seal of approval on ass sex with a marriage license. Of course, this is not a libertarian position, but it can be advocated with libertarian sophistry.

      You wonder why the libertine wing of the libertarian movement doesn’t support Rand Paul. Rand Paul is a traditionalist in his personal life and only libertarian in his political thinking. Libertines are first and foremost libertines.

      1. Please, “ass sex” isn’t the issue. Although not a practitioner myself, I do believe that it happens in different- and same-sex relationships alike.

      2. Libertine? You mean tolerating that individuals all have different conceptions of the good and believing that we should be free to choose what makes us happy so long as we don’t hurt others?

        I can’t imagine why a philosophy like that would lead anyone to say who gives a fuck? about ass sex.

  8. I am SOOOOOOOOOOOO tired of seeing this FUGLY-ass woman everywhere. That ALONE is a reason to stop reporting on it. Wouldn’t fuck her with Palin’s buttplug…

    1. Don’t get so cocky. You’re husband #5.

    2. She looks like one of my high school science teachers. 😛

    3. She looks like one of my high school science teachers. 😛

  9. ROTFLMAO!! As I’ve been saying for years, if it’s small government you’re looking for, look somewhere else besides the libertarians. Because it’s gonna take an 800 lb. gorilla of a government to shove their idea of “liberty” down the throats of the unenlightened peasants.

    1. Yeah, we should look towards the small-government Democrats.
      Who – exactly – as a libertarian has espoused using government to force people to recognize the concept of “liberty”?
      What the fuck kind of strawman-fighter are you?

      1. The stupid kind. Probably named Tulpa.

  10. Meh, she is engaging in a non-violent protest and paying the consequences for it. This was not unexpected. If she won’t do the job find someone who will. I feel no need to either demonize or martyr her over it.

    1. But, but, how will the KULTURWARRIORS achieve Fully Smug Enlightenment otherwise?

    2. Me too, but now that it’s made major headlines, it’s become a signaling opportunity.

  11. That sums it up pretty nicely.

    1. Pretty much my feelings on this quasi-issue too. The needle for my GAF-meter never moved off the peg about this until I wanted to know just what Paul was saying about it.

  12. Hence Davis, if she decided to quit her job and open a bakery or a photography business, should not be legally compelled to participate in gay weddings, and neither should any other baker or photographer

    Baking a cake is not participating unless she is standing there cutting it as people wait in line for their slice. Sorry. I can buy into the photography argument. Or a caterer with staff who would be on site that may object. But not baking a cake that somebody else picks up.

    I believe Scalia said it best when, to paraphrase, he said any criminal court judge objecting to the death penalty on religious grounds should either resign or accept that their personal belief must take a back seat.

    1. The state has no right to deprive a human of their life, the state really doesn’t have any rights at all except those imagined by the governed who imagined the state into existance

  13. If an elected official can be jailed for not performing their job, I’d expect it’s more important to start at the top of government, not the bottom.

  14. If some states had banned same sex marriage and gays within these particular states acted in a manner as ‘above the law’ and married anyway I’d be outraged if these homo-marriers were jailed in exactly the same fashion I’m outraged at this Christian cunt being jailed.

    Gays have rightfully broken the law to gain ground for their cause and I’d fully expect any solid fundamentalist Christian to engage in the same tactic. I’m fucking weary of the legal system being utilized by ass brew on both sides of aisle to violently impose behavioral modification on people of gay or Christian faith.

    In Libertarian utopia the simplest answer would be to cut off the goddamn pencil fingers of bureaucracy as it relates to marriage. This will never happen. Average hundreds of millions need their fucking town to validate their choices in the form of parchment. The lady should be allowed to ‘break the law’ like gays have been doing for decades until a replacement can be found and then Davis should be offered an equal opportunity for employment somewhere else in the office.

    She is as evil to the gays as they are to her. No reason why the playing field shouldn’t be kept as level as possible without involving dungeons which, if a fundamentalist cunt is thrown in one, gives the entirety of the leftist rags a collective goddamn orgasm.

    1. Really, this should have been the article.

      1. I am furiously googling “ass brew” trying to get it to trend.

  15. Is there a law in Kentucky that says that every county has to issue marriage licenses?

    Because, if not, then I don’t see what she’s doing wrong.

    And why do people keep treating this like it’s a Republican problem? The woman is an elected Democrat in a heavily Democratic county(about 3-1 Democrat). Democrats, from the President on down, usually get celebrated for refusing to do the jobs they were elected to do and uphold the laws they were elected to uphold.

    In Rowan County, Republicans can only watch.

  16. Thank you, Mr. Sullum. Well done.

  17. In the first place, how are personal relationships a concern to Washington DC? This might be a Libertarian’s POV.

    Isn’t this what the founders had in mind?

    The central government should have very limited power and function. Protect our borders, settle disputes between states, and manage relationships with other nations while providing national defense.

    Our local governments were meant to have autonomy. The people of each state make their own rules. In Kentucky, they’ve decided to allow each county to make its own rules. In some counties, you can’t have alcohol. But, give thanks, American citizen. You’re free to move where you can.

    Take Dearborn Michigan, for example. If the majority of citizens there want to follow sharia law, our founders meant for them to have that right as long as anyone in Dearborn remained free to relocate.

    Again, why is marriage a function of Washington DC, Frankfort, or the counties where they don’t approve? Why does Washington control so much? Wouldn’t it be better to have many states in a confederacy? Oh yeah, that was ruined when the southerners refused to give up slaves and shot up Ft. Sumter.

    Anyway, that’s how this liberty-lover sees things. Where am I wrong?

    1. Re: JB Sparks,

      Our local governments were meant to have autonomy.

      A) The local governments don’t have the autonomy to act beyond the limits imposed by the Constitution. For instance, a local government has no right to place you in jail for giving speeches that are politically “troubling.”

      B) This woman doesn’t have the autonomy that you want to ascribe to the local government. She can’t be the government.

      1. Ok, but if that local community did not wish to issue marriage licenses for homosexuals, did the founders intend that they have that right in this nation of liberty or did they intend that The US Supreme Court settle the issue? I believe it to be the former but, I’m no scholar.

        1. Apply your argument to an issue less sympathetic to your sensibilities, like slavery, and ask yourself whether there’s a duty of even local governments to follow the Constitution.

    2. Where am I wrong?

      You are wrong in your assessment of the function of government.

      From a libertarian perspective, the only legitimate function of government is to protect the rights of the individual. That’s ALL government, federal, state, local…

      There is a right to equal protection under the law. If it isn’t happening at the state or local level, it is well within the legitimate power of the feds to ensure it does.

      1. right but wouldnt the most equal protection be afforded by recognizing the rights of he people to define what civil contracts they wish to enter into or not and by upholding them equally under law, not by redefining a word with religious connotations to stir up stupid conflicts and controversy

        1. I’m all for getting the government out of marriage entirely. Just saying that since they ARE involved, 14A doesn’t let states write laws that apply to some but not others.

          As I’ve posted in other threads, 14A doesn’t allow the states to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

    3. The central government should have very limited power and function. Protect our borders, settle disputes between states, and manage relationships with other nations while providing national defense.

      ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! Oh, it burns!

      1. I agree. Considering the way the electorate apparently wants Congress to be a part of virtually every facet of our lives, the notion seems hilarious.

        1. They got so many agencies, I’m told none of your law makers are able to give you an accurate count. Meantime, they fail miserably in their primary functions.

  18. People cannot, in the name of religious liberty, insist on keeping a job when they are unwilling to perform the duties it entails.

    That goes for private as well as government employees. If Davis took a job that required her to photograph gay weddings or bake cakes for them, she would have no right to reject those tasks on religious grounds and expect to keep the job.

    Private as well as public? So if I don’t want to bake a gay wedding cake, I have “no right” to be a baker?

    Does that same logic apply when I don’t want to bake a cake for guy who walks naked into my shop? Does a Jewish baker not have a right to be baker if he doesn’t bake Nazi wedding cakes? Exercising free association is not a forfeiture of the ability to exercise other rights.

    1. Wow, you really failed on your understanding of this analogy.

      If Davis took a job (meaning from an employer) and the job requirements were to photograph or bake gay wedding cakes, then she could no longer reasonably expect to keep her private-sector job on religious grounds.

      She’s perfectly free to be a baker or a photographer for an employer more sympathetic to her religious views or become self-employed, or do something else entirely.

    2. Where did you stop learning how to think? Kindergarten?

      It’s called the “golden rule” as applied to business: your behavior as a business owner should be identical to the treatment you would EXPECT to receive as a customer. This isn’t just a good idea; it’s the law and it needs to be enforced everywhere. Why? BECAUSE OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO DON’T UNDERSTAND THAT THEY WILL GO OUT OF BUSINESS IF YOU TREAT YOUR CUSTOMERS LIKE CRAP. Besides which, treating your customers like crap is a great way to get a civil rights lawsuit, which I’m assuming you neither need nor want.

      So here’s the logic, plain and clear. If I’m the baker and you work for me, and you refuse to serve one of my gay customers, I’m firing your ass so hard you’ll stick to the wall. In pieces.

      If you’re running a business that is open TO THE PUBLIC and you refuse to serve one of your gay PUBLIC CUSTOMERS, expect to get sued, and expect me to laugh my ass off.

      1. If you’re running a business that is open TO THE PUBLIC and you refuse to serve one of your gay PUBLIC CUSTOMERS, expect to get sued, and expect me to laugh my ass off.

        So you are in favor of public accommodation laws? You think someone else has the power to tell you who you can do business with?

      2. Really? I think you have to go pretty far to find a business that discriminates…like, rural KY. Truly, I think the homosexuals seeks these confrontations.

    3. No.

      If you don’t want to bake a gay wedding cake, don’t take a job with a gay wedding cake bakery.

      And if your boss hired you before he went into the business of baking gay wedding cakes, he can fire you for refusal to do so when he decides to change from a straight wedding cake bakery to a gay and straight wedding cake bakery.

      You are free to take your talents to another straight wedding cake bakery or open one yourself.

  19. First point: Davis was locked up because the judge observed that any fines would likely be paid by her supporters, and Davis was utterly unrepentant of her behaviors. What choice did the judge have?

  20. I’ve been a very strong supporter of Paul since before he announced his candidacy, and I have to say this issue is really, really bothering me. Paul knows the difference between government action and private action. He should be well aware that there’s no justification for an agent of the state to impose their own beliefs upon others’ personal lives. How he can say in one breath that the government should be out of the marriage business, and in the next breath say that a government agent has a right to say who can and cannot engage in the contract of marriage in violation of the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court is beyond me. I am completely perplexed by this and so are my friends in both the millenials and big-‘L’ Libertarian camps.

    I think Senator Paul would have a very different opinion if a Buddhist County Clerk were refusing to sign Concealed Carried Permits because of his personal belief of Pacifism. I think Senator Paul would have a very different opinion if a Judge of Muslim faith were refusing to prosecute cases involving domestic abuse because under Shariah Law the husband is permitted to strike his wife. I think Senator Paul should have a very different opinion than the one he holds in this instance.

    Kim Davis’s actions are inexcusable, and Rand Paul is seriously letting down the true Liberty-lovers who want Liberty for ALL, not just Liberty for Straight Christians. I am extremely disappointed.

    1. No, her actions are excusable. It is at most a minor transgression that requires her being reassigned.

    2. I agree and I can only think he is trying to catch the religious vote which dissapoints me when people cater to specific groups by changing their stance on other issues

    3. Well, better late than never (that you realized Rand Paul is really a conservative). He’s never been a libertarian and this issue, as with a number of others, illustrates this fact perfectly.

      We should also be thoroughly disabused that he is “libertarian-ish” enough and will somehow slide us further towards a classical liberal society. If anything, his election would present a huge obstacle for libertarians in the future in trying to overcome the public’s misconception that libertarians are really conservatives. And conservatives are on the way out. Attaching ourselves to people like Paul (and I include Ron here who is actually better than Rand) is not the appeal to the public that many LPers believe it to be. Socially, they are on the descent.

  21. For me the issue isn’t a 1st amendment one but a 10th. If you go to a state courthouse to get a marriage license, why is a federal judge weighing in at all? DOMA was wrong and muddied the waters. This is a state issue.

    1. This is a state issue.

      I disagree.

      Read 10A particularly the bolded part:

      Amendment 10 – Powers of the States and People

      The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

      14A says States may not deny equal protection under the law. IOW, they are prohibited by the Constitution from writing marriage law that applies to straights only. The state not complying with the equal protection clause makes it the purview of the feds.

      1. So would they not be also prohibited from defining marriage? if you unravel the whole thing, the state initially violated the 1st and 9th when it started issuing licenses for civil union contracts in the first place

        1. So would they not be also prohibited from defining marriage?

          If that definition meant the exclusion of some individual, I’s say yes.

          IMO, 90% of what government does is unconstitutional. But I have a very strict interpretation of 14A.

          If you can’t write a law that applies to everyone the same, it’s probably not within the purview of government to be making such a law in the first place.

  22. When was Reason sold to Huff Post? They’re now advocating for people to be thrown in jail for what is at most a minor work transgression?

    1. Well, technically, she was thrown in jail for contempt, and the contempt charge occurred because she violated a court order. And the court order compelled her to issue marriage licenses.

    2. A “minor work transgression” is slightly different when one is a government official and the transgression involves refusing to obey the law. Besides, she is an elected official, so she can’t exactly be reassigned; she has to be compelled to obey the law or be removed entirely.

    3. When was Reason sold to Huff Post? They’re now advocating for people to be thrown in jail for what is at most a minor work transgression?


      The power of judges to lock people up indefinitely for contempt is indeed troubling, and Bunning’s order, which went beyond what the plaintiffs requested (a fine), seems excessive.

  23. Start making cash right now… Get more time with your family by doing jobs that only require for you to have a computer and an internet access and you can have that at your home. Start bringing up to $8596 a month. I’ve started this job and I’ve never been happier and now I am sharing it with you, so you can try it too. You can check it out here…

  24. Let’s be honest, at this point Rand isn’t even libertarian leaning. He’s just another conservative. It’s no wonder he’s polling so low. Republicans have turned into brown-shirts and don’t want a conservative and Rand is now fighting against most libertarian causes.

    1. Presidential politics is just a show, there is no outcome that could possibly matter because
      A. The voting is inputted into an electronic machine that is easily hackable for anyone with basic knowledge and 50 bucks
      B. The only options that will ever be given will be for establishment vetted candidates rendering moot any vote cast
      C. Power is only attractive to the corrupt, if they are seeking dominion over others they are by nature corrupt
      D. most importantly, if voting mattered, they would make it illegal

  25. He knows. He’s just trying to figure out a way to adjust his libertarian-ism to the shit kickers who apparently decide Republican primaries. It’s sad.

  26. If this woman can not be fired because she is an elected official, then why can’t she be impeached and removed from office? Why must it take waiting around for another election to get rid of someone who won’t do her job?

    1. This is a quote from a recent article: “Kentucky law largely shields an elected official like Davis from being forced out of her post. Until the next election, when the voters can boot her, she can be removed only through impeachment by the state legislature. That’s a messy, lengthy process that has rarely been pursued in Kentucky.”

      And then you have the Kentucky politicians who are probably very reticent to get involved in this quagmire. After all, they want to be reelected next time, and coming out on the wring side of the argument could kill their career. So who is there in that religious, red state that would start the impeachment process? Mitch McConnell? LOL!

      1. So then the only solution is to let her sit out the rest of her term in jail. I wonder if she’s collecting her salary, too…?

        From the looks of her I’d bet her chances of getting raped are a little better than 10%.

  27. The best summation of how wrong Kim and Rand are was tweeted by @rachelheldevans :

    No one’s being jailed for practicing her religion. Someone’s being jailed for using the government to force others to practice her religion.

    Under 140 characters. So simple and so succinct.

    1. No. She’s in jail for daring to defy a federal judge. That’s what she’s charged with.

  28. What does Trump have to say about this?

    Trumpity Trump Trump.

  29. Of course it’s outrageous (her jailing), she’s a Democrat.
    These things are only done to members of the VRWC.

  30. The marriage licenses issued by deputies without the Clerk’s signature are not valid. So the three couples that received marriage licenses in Rowan County are not legally married.

  31. Kim Davis had a “Christian” option . . . not too unlike Jesus of Nazareth’s reaction to the woman caught in adultery. If I understand this right, the marriage license form requires the name of the “husband” and the”wife.” Since you can’t tell about gender, these days, by appearance or name, how can a Clerk assume it’s a same sex union without a physical examination?

  32. She’s not in jail for doing or not doing anything except disobeying a federal judge. They don’t like that.
    She took an oath to do her job, but they changed the job description without offering her any chance to agree or disagree. I have no problem with that. There are certain amendments to the Constitution that I don’t uphold, myself.
    The only people who should be dealing with the solution to this problem are those who elected her. Instantaneous (before the hot light of media attention fades) compliance is not the solution, nor is her stance that big a problem: Rand is correct to say, “Maybe the government should get out of the marriage business.” Sheesh.
    She did not refuse to file them, she just refused to approve them. Rand is correct, again, when he suggests that they could have someone else sign them.
    Further, his point that none of this will win anyone over to the idea of alternative marriages, is also correct. You don’t win support by force.
    No, this is about her daring to defy a federal judge.

  33. On a related note, what the fuck is Rand Paul doing with his campaign? ‘Bout the only thing I hear on him is his seemingly compulsive harping on Planned Parenthood and now defending this government employee for not doing her fucking job? Where’s the campaigning on liberties? Where’s the campaigning on less regulations and less government? Does Rand Paul realize that his campaign is in the crapper right now because he’s not sounding Libertarian, he’s trying to sound like a social conservative, us libertarians are pissed off about it and social conservatives will never give a shit about him?

    I can’t respond to his campaign emails, so I will say it here: I am one or two more “planned parenthood outrage” campaign emails away from blocking all campaign emails from him and writing him off.

  34. “If Davis took a job that required her to photograph gay weddings or bake cakes for them, she would have no right to reject those tasks on religious grounds and expect to keep the job.”

    What you are claiming is that we have religious freedom only as long as no one objects to our freedom. This is a problem when atheists rule on matters of religious freedom; they are the proverbial wolf guarding the hen house.

  35. Excellent and succinct analysis. It really leaves no room for argument.

  36. Her objection was not about gay marriage, it was about putting her name on the license sanctioning it. She gave the governor and the judge an out by saying she would issue the license without her name on it. But that’s not good enough for the left who wants to rub her nose in it.

    And by the way, Kennedy and the other 4 robes had no right telling us, the people, what marriage is. He should be impeached.

    Best regards,

  37. I disagree. Religious freedom as enshrined in the Constitution means the freedom to act according to your religious conscience, and that’s exactly what Kim Davis is doing. Why should she resign when they have changed the job on her since she started?

    The problem is that SCOTUS enforces the denial of freedom to choose when it says a baker can be forced to bake a cake for a couple against the baker’s religious beliefs. This is another example of one person’s freedom being trodden upon in the dubious cause of lack of discrimination… Yet religious freedom is in the US Constitution but, I understand, discrimination is not.

    The problem comes when people have to decide whether to obey the Constitution or the ever changing arbitrary and unconstitutional laws passed by the politicians. Unfortunately, SCOTUS with Justices who refuse to recuse themselves despite clear conflict of interest abandoned the Constitution many years ago.

  38. Hooray. Someone makes sense.

  39. An entirely unrealistic view that ignores the many practical implications, dealing with such things as inheritance and adoption, of a marriage that is not legally recognized.

  40. Because you believe in religion does not allow gay marriage, so you are against. But other people have other people’s beliefs, not to mention this is permitted by law. You have no right to prevent the legitimate needs and personal beliefs of others. Want others to respect you, you respect people first. Or religion you believe in is so brutal it?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.