So by now if you haven’t heard about Kim Davis I would like the address of the cave in which you reside so that I may join you there. In the event that you haven’t though, let me give you the abbreviated story so we can move on. Kim Davis is a County Clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky. Since the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Obergerfell v. Hodges she has been denying same-sex couples marriage licenses to which they are legally entitled. She insists that she doesn’t believe in “gay marriage” and blah blah sanctity of marriage yadda-yadda. This has gone through several levels of our court system all the way up to the Supreme Court who told Kim Davis and her attorney in no uncertain terms to bounce because they had already ruled in this matter.
Here we are, the next day. The Supreme Court has told her to get the hell on with her job and she’s still denying couples their marriage licenses “under the authority of [g]od.” Normally, I might stick in a picture, but I am so tired of seeing this woman’s face that I don’t want to do that, nor do I want to burden you. This is not so much to talk about her specifically, but something that her husband said which has a larger relation to attitudes that seem entirely too prevalent in the United States. Finally succumbing to temptation, I clicked on one of the seventy-nine articles in my newsfeed in which I came across this quote from Kim Davis’ husband:
“They want us to accept their beliefs and their ways. But they won’t accept our beliefs and our ways.”
I have a couple things to say about his statement. First of all, I feel confident in saying that none of the same-sex couples attempting to acquire a marriage license is in need of or even desires your acceptance. They don’t need you to accept shit. What they need from Kim Davis is for her to do her job. Period. End of story. She doesn’t have to like it. She just has to do it, because that’s her job. Ideally you will get issued a marriage license and it will be as uneventful as and no more frustrating than renewing your driver’s license.
And here’s the messed up thing about her job. She is an elected official. What this means is that she had to actually campaign – to some extent – to receive the votes of the people in her county. Now I can tell you from personal experience in local politics that it is entirely possible that she ran unopposed because lots of small government positions that you don’t actually understand what they do (prothonotaries, I’m talking to you) don’t actually get a lot of play in elections. They aren’t sexy jobs. No one really understands what it takes to be qualified for them and so no one really runs. This is, of course, beside the point. She did. I hope you’re happy Kentuckians of Rowan County that actually voted for her.
The second thing is this: I don’t need to accept your beliefs and your “ways.” You don’t need me to do that. Because of the freedom of religion afforded you by the Bill of Rights you get to have your religious beliefs even when I don’t accept them. And guess what? I don’t. I stridently do not accept an interpretation of the bible that relies on your ability to discriminate against people because you don’t like them (that is what this is about, because if it were about biblical principles you’d also be turning away those who are divorced). The great (I guess) thing about the United States is that even if I don’t accept what I feel are your petty, cherry-picked, mean-spirited beliefs you still get to have them. You get to have them at home. You get to have them in your church. You get to have them in your hand-picked community of bigots (yeah, I said it). You get to have them to whatever extent you please so long as they do not conflict with the laws of the United States of America. It’s like how you have the freedom of speech but you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater because then you’d be endangering people’s lives. In a similar way, you get to have your religious beliefs until they endanger other people’s rights.
…Unless you’re a business that wants to stop women from having birth control and/or have access to abortion services, but that’s a story for another day…
My point is this: Kim Davis and her husband are not being oppressed. What Kim Davis’ husband is asking for is not acceptance, it is for his wife to have the ability to use her government position to discriminate based on her personal religious beliefs. What other people do that may conflict with your beliefs is not any of your business. I have read the bible cover to cover on multiple occasions and nowhere does it say that you will be judged on other people’s behavior. So no, no one wants your acceptance and neither are we required to give you ours.