As almost anyone who pays the least amount of attention to the news should be aware there is a firestorm swirling around a Kentucky County clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. She has claimed this right due to her religious beliefs, and of course those who oppose gay marriage have rushed to her defense. These guardians of religious freedom include a number of GOP Presidential and political candidates.
At the same time she has been condemned and vilified by those who support the Supreme Court granted right, including of course the Democratic Presidential and political candidates.
What leads to this blog is a Facebook® post someone had with a quote attributed to George Takei.
“Well this is a bit of a circus. So let us be clear: This woman is no hero to be celebrated. She broke her oath to uphold the constitution and defied a court order so she could deny government services to couples who are legally entitled to be married. She is entitled to hold her religious beliefs, but not to impose those beliefs on others. If she had denied marriage certificates to an interracial couple would people cheer her? Would presidential candidates flock to her side? In our society we obey civil laws, not religious ones. To suggest otherwise is, simply put, entirely un-American.”
Just a couple of points for Mr. Takei and his friends. The Kentucky oath of office does not obligate the clerk to uphold the US Constitution. Despite the claims of Daily Kos and lgbtqnation the oath for the clerk is found in state law, not the Kentucky Constitution. Section 30A.020 Oath of clerk and deputy actually says:
"I, ....., do swear that I will well and truly discharge the duties of the office of .............. County Circuit Court clerk, according to the best of my skill and judgment, making the due entries and records of all orders, judgments, decrees, opinions and proceedings of the court, and carefully filing and preserving in my office all books and papers which come to my possession by virtue of my office; and that I will not knowingly or willingly commit any malfeasance of office, and will faithfully execute the duties of my office without favor, affection or partiality, so help me God."
So on the first point, the clerk’s oath does not direct her to uphold the US Constitution or even the Constitution of the State, it does establish a requirement to be a good clerk and execute her duties without favor, affection or partiality. That said, the judicial branch was well within its right to hold the clerk in contempt for not following the guidance of the US Supreme Court as it bestowed on the LGBT community the protections of the 14th Amendment.
A second point for Mr. Takei… where was the outrage when the Federal Government’s Executive branch chose not to uphold the mandates of the US Constitution and fulfill its obligation to defend the laws of the nation? You may recall the Defense of Marriage Act, signed into law by President Clinton and whose defense was the responsibility of the Attorney General. Do you remember when the President and the AG chose not to fulfill their obligation? Where was the outrage then?
Of course they were choosing to ignore their obligation in a way you were happy support. If it is un-American to follow your religious convictions you must obey civil law then were is the condemnation of the Islamic insistence on Shia Law, or the condemnation of those who choose to ignore their constitutional duty and uphold the civil law of the land despite their political disagreement?
So at the end of the day the sanctimonious nonsense that she is imposing her religious views is no different then the President and Attorney General imposing their political view in choosing which laws to enforce or defend. You can’t condemn one without condemning the other.