I’m pro-gay marriage, absolutely. I believe the government should make no laws favoring or restricting any one faith. However, our cultural treatment of Kim Davis irks me. She is standing up for what she believes in, and no matter how wrong we all feel it is, she still has the right as an American citizen to do so. The aggressive shaming of her is about as troublesome to me as some of the things her supporters have to say.
Let’s turn back the times, and the tables, for the sake of argument. What if she was issuing licenses to interracial couples in, say, the forties (ignoring the unlikelihood of a woman holding elected office in the south and my general lack of exact knowledge as to which decade was most intolerant)? The majority opinion of her would remain the same, that is to say in vicious opposition. She probably would face jail time for defying a federal decree and be mocked in public opinion. Please remember, I am not saying the situation is the same but that Kim Davis’s actions, her intentions in this current state of affairs in regards to her right to practice free speech, are no different than if she wished to defy the law and married a black woman and a white man.
As funny as the “do your damn job” memes are, I find them an ironic form of oppressive. I hate to say it, but I support her choice (not motivation) in refusing to issue the license. How much would any civil rights movement accomplished if everyone were to “shut up and do their damn job”? If my company issued a decree that I consciously disagreed with or that infringed on my rights to freely practice my faith, then I would absolutely protest and refuse to work. I would seek out colleagues, managers, company investors to support me in my protest. If I were to be jailed, I would not make an agreement to return to work and do what I was jailed for in the first place just to get out. If something meant that much to me, I would do whatever I could within my power to make a change. And my success in doing so would depend solely on the number of people who agreed with my position on the issue that had the ability to effect the company or at least the number of investors I could scare away.
The difference between me and Kim Davis, however, is that she is a public official and I am a private citizen. That’s where things get a little murky. What rights do public officials give up or abridge when they take up their position? If someone is elected to an office, only to have the duties of that office change after they had accepted the position, do they not have a right to object? Is freedom of protest only for the private citizen? Would Davis have even wanted to obtain the status of County Clerk if she’d known that it would entail a duty that violated her beliefs? What if you’d been hired to be a librarian but then 10 years into the job, after you’ve based your life around your employment, you were told you also had to let people fuck sheep in the back room? I’m not saying that is an equivalent, but she sure as hell thinks it is. When the ink dried and all hopes of repeal of the Gay Marriage law escaped from possibility, she woke up one day and said to herself “I cannot allow this.” Legally, yes arrest was appropriate for her actions. She is an elected official. Her job is not to judge if two people should get married, but to certify that their marriage is in accordance to the laws that govern the union. But she is no villain. And the Christian right would sure love a martyr.
I also wonder, would the debate be as heated if this were about weed? Would we have as much to say about a doctor refusing to prescribe medical marijuana, or would we just laugh and let economics be our voice. The supports of medicinal marijuana would simply stop going to that doctor, and I feel there is enough out there that it would make a significant impact on his business. We have a choice in our private doctors but not our public officials, that is until election season.
We must remember how far we’ve come and that we, the weirds, the fringe, the outcasts, were once the oppressed. Christianity itself was once a death sentence (still is in some countries). We’ve made amazing strides and the collective conscious of man has grown by leaps and bounds. Now is time to lead by example, to practice the tolerance we have so worked for. I’m not saying free Kim Davis, I’m saying stop fucking talking about her. Instead, let us talk about the fact that there are still people out there who think homosexuality is a sin punishable by death. There are people out there that still believe in enforcing that punishment. Let us change the conversation to talk about the changes our society in becoming more accepting. Let’s discuss the views of those running for President and support those who will be champions to continue the progress we’ve made. Let us show that We, the Freaks, are capable of love, understanding, and compassion that is unfathomable by those who operate with judgement and hate in their hearts. We are on the dawn of a new consciousness, we are birthing a millenia of humanity where freedom is a birthright and not something that must be fought for. We must set the tone for future generations by refusing to pass on the grudges and feuds and prejudices of our forefathers. We must vow to teach non-violence AND to practice it.
We cannot snuff out bullying by being bullies ourselves.