Compassion and Respect in an Either-Or World

I have a different take on the situation with county clerk Kim Davis. I have written about a similar issue before. What I have to say will not be popular in an either-or, black and white world such as ours.  I will likely make enemies in both camps of this issue. But there really IS another viewpoint other than the two opinions yelled out in front of Ms. Davis’ place of business.

First off….I am 100% in favor of gay marriage.  Everyone should have the right to make a public and legal commitment to the person they love.  Period.  End of story there.  I was incredibly thrilled with the Supreme Court decision on this matter, and proud of our country for making this the law of the land.  Also, I am a Christian, and I do NOT believe that marriage is allowed only between one man and one woman. It is a commitment that should be open to anyone brave enough to take it on!

All that said, I recognize that there are many good people who sincerely believe that same-sex marriage is a violation of God’s laws.  I can understand and respect that….as long as they do not try to force their beliefs on others.

Here is where I diverge.  Yes I believe in the right of fundamentalist Christians and other religious groups to follow the dictates of their conscience. However, given this sudden change in the law, I think we need to allow people and agencies the time and space to make needed policy adjustments.

What do I mean by that?  Kim Davis took the position of county clerk before same-sex marriage was the law of the state – let alone the law of the land.  She accepted a position knowing that she was capable of fulfilling all her duties.  Now she is not capable. People have said that she should resign if she cannot do her job. I understand that position and I believe she might have to do that in the end.  But I also think that the state should think of a way that she can be “grandfathered” in with slightly different expectations.  The state needs to be clear that someone else in her office will be able to authorize legal marriage licenses.  I know they have already – but there is a question as to whether this is legal.  Really this should be a simple accommodation that can be made to ALL people who were hired by offices that issue marriage licenses before this decision was made.

This accommodation might not be enough for some people who abide by very strict religious rules.  If that is the case – so be it.  There is no choice for them but to resign as a matter of conscience.

What does this mean going forward?  ANYONE, no matter their religion or beliefs, who accepts a job like Kim Davis’ position, MUST issue marriage licenses to ALL couples, regardless of sex, color, nationality etc., because those were the parameters of the job they accepted.  But let us offer some measure of sympathy and compassion to those who have been overtaken by a sweeping change like this one.

Bottom line.  I think Kim Davis stance against same-sex marriage is WRONG – both morally and religiously.  But I will defend her right to live by her faith.  She did not ask for this, and if most people will really think about it, they will view her with sympathy and admiration for her courage.

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