Did you know when your blood boils, it tickles your innards? Not really. It just makes your stomach churn.
Mine did as soon as I learned Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis had released a book describing how she defied authority in support of her religious beliefs. You remember her story: as Clerk, Davis refused to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple in 2015, citing her personal faith.
Caring nothing about the issue, but loving the ratings, media flocked to Morehead to watch the ensuing battle between supporters on both sides of the issue. As it played out, I fumed, stewed, and grumbled (even though her media friendly five days in jail was entertaining).
This 15-minutes of famer is now trying to cash in on her notoriety with the aforementioned tome. Talk about a sin. Just not the one you think.
Davis was wrong, wrong, wrong about her stance. And religion had nothing to do with it. As Rowan County Clerk, Davis swore an oath to fulfill her duties, not to pick and choose the ones that made her feel comfortable.
When I started my career I was given an Employee Handbook. After reading it, I was required to sign a form confirming I had read and understood the manual and its performance guidelines. With that signature I, in effect, agreed to the proscriptions of the Company so far as performance and comportment. If I didn't like it, I had a simple choice: leave employment at that company.
Kim Davis did the political version of this exercise by taking an oath. In other words, she swore to perform the duties that come with being the Clerk of Rowan County. Which included issuing marriage licenses – regardless of sexual orientation. Her behavior was a dereliction of duty. Her oath of office did not have an "unless I don't feel like it" codicil allowing her to pick and choose which parts of her job she would do.
Another aside: The legal protections of same-sex marriage are important. Imagine your in-laws did not like you because of your lifestyle and you had no legal protections afforded a spouse. Your partner dies. Without that protection, the in-laws would be the rightful heirs to your partner's estate and would be within their rights to freeze you out, emotionally and financially. If that happened to you I imagine you might find that unfair.
Because it is. And the poster child for such actions is hawking her “How to Get By with Not Doing Your Job” pamphlet for the low low price of $25.
Reading the book as she proudly lectures us how she bravely stood by her convictions while ignoring her sworn duty would not be my idea of a good time. I might have looked upon her more favorably if she’d really had the courage of her convictions and stepped down from her post. That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is where the difference between real courage and faux courage come into play. And boy, did the folks of Rowan County get played.
Good news for media wonks ready to report Round Two: Davis is running for re-election (What is her slogan going to be - upholding the parts of my duties I’ve felt like since 2014?) One of the men Davis rejected for a marriage license is running against her. Hopefully the voters of Rowan County will realize that a candidate who is willing to betray a portion of their oath, might be willing to betray it all.