2015-09-25 / Letters

Kentucky clerk didn’t do her job properly

To the editor:

Kim Davis, a county clerk from Kentucky, has been

dominating national headlines for the past several weeks with her refusal to issue and refusal to allow her staff issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Davis and her supporters claim her religion trumps the law and that she must be allowed to continue discriminating against those couples.

While Davis was serving time in jail for contempt of court, some of her deputy clerks defied her order and issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but Davis claims those licenses are invalid without her signature. Even from behind bars, Davis managed to instill fear and uncertainty in numerous same-sex couples whose only socalled crime was loving each other.

To date, no one has adequately explained how issuing licenses violates Davis’ freedom of religion. If a Jewish person who keeps kosher held the position in city government responsible for issuing restaurant licenses, would it be acceptable for him to deny a license to a restaurant that serves lobster and pork? Would it be acceptable for a Mormon in that position to deny a license to Starbucks? Aren’t those scenarios analogous to what Kim Davis is doing?

Davis’ supporters will likely say, “That’s not the same.” But it’s exactly the same, unless one believes that Davis’ religion is deserving of special rights not afforded to those other religions. That does seem to be what she and her supporters are suggesting, albeit in a thinly veiled manner.

Davis claims to be a born-again Christian, and she has cited that as one reason why she can’t issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. My mother, a notary public here in Maine for almost 40 years, is also a bornagain Christian. She has officiated hundreds of weddings. Her couples have been of every religion imaginable, and many have been of no religion at all. She’s married couples who’ve never been married before and couples who’ve been divorced several times. She hasn’t yet performed a same-sex wedding ceremony, but only because she hasn’t yet been asked. She would be happy to do it, and I know she would do it with the same love and dignity she has shown toward all of her couples. She takes her oath as a Maine notary public very seriously.

Despite Davis’ claims to the contrary, being a born-again Christian does not conflict with one’s ability to uphold an oath of office. My mother, and hundreds of other notaries like her, are proof of that. Davis and her supporters do a disservice to the millions of Christians all over the country who perform their jobs without discriminating and without breaking the law.

If Kim Davis still feels she cannot reconcile her oath of office with her religion, she has a very simple remedy at her disposal: she can resign. Conflict resolved.

Meanwhile, we Mainers are fortunate to have so many clerks and notaries who uphold their oaths of office, doing so with respect and professionalism. I offer them my sincere thanks, and I extend a warm invitation to the good people of Kentucky: get married in Maine.

Adrian Dowling South Portland

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