If Kim Davis Refuses to Submit…

Kentucky State Capitol Building in Frankfort
Kentucky State Capitol Building in Frankfort

I have been thinking a lot about Kim Davis, who now finds her sexual sins splashed over the Internet, mostly by people who don’t believe in sexual sins.

For a great critique of the weirdness of this “slut-shaming” of Kim Davis for not behaving as a Christian before she converted to Christianity, read the great Mollie Hemingway.

You have to admire someone like Kim Davis who is willing to sacrifice for her beliefs. So many of us submit in great ways and small, rather than take the hit for standing up for what we believe. (Ever been silent at a dinner party because you don’t want everyone to yell at you because you oppose gay marriage?).

Yet, I do not see how we can have a country of laws if public officials flout direct court orders.  If gay couples are legally entitled to a license, they must have some way to get it.

And as importantly, I’ve been thinking a lot about what the end game is here.  Possibly (if The New Republic has its way), Davis will spent the rest of her elected term in a jail cell.  At that point, the voters of Rowan County will probably decide whether to return her to office and thus extend the drama. Or they could elect a new clerk, at which point Davis gets out of jail, because the power of a court to jail a person for contempt is not a “punishment” but an incentive to comply with the court’s order.

Or, Kim Davis could be impeached by the Kentucky state legislature and removed from office that way.  Highly unlikely given polls show the majority of Kentuckians oppose gay marriage.

Or the state legislature could step up and pass an accommodation that gets the license to the gay couple and allows Kim Davis to keep her job.

Of all these options, the last is the best, the most sensible, and the one that leads to de-escalate the conflict rather than raise it to the max.

There are just two obstacles to this happy solution: the Republicans’ post-Indiana unwillingness to engage on anything that could lead them to be called “anti-gay” by the media.

And the fact the Democrats control one house of the Kentucky legislature.

This is a huge new opportunity for social conservatives to get seriously involved in politics: Start organizing now. Kim Davis needs your help.

And so does our country.

UPDATE: A federal judge has now ordered jail time for Kim Davis.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at American Principles in Action.