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the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

can you impeach a county clerk?

September 1st, 2015 (02:00 pm)

Hi, guys. I’m thinking of coming back to LJ for awhile. I’ve been doing a project of staying away from Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter for a couple months, to see if it helps with my concentration. More about that in a later post, maybe, if I feel like soul-baring. But I took August off from all social media and am now reintroducing LJ because I think long-form blogging is better for me than status updates, tweets and gifs.

ANYWAY, right now I am kind of losing my frigging mind over this case with the Kentucky clerk who is refusing to do her job, refusing to quit her job, and refusing to admit that she is, of her own free will, digging herself into a really big hole. Specifically, for anyone who’s missed it, she won’t issue marriage licenses to gay people (or to straight people either, on the hilarious notion that this is going to protect her from lawsuits) and every court up to and including the Supreme Court has said “No, your religion doesn’t give you the right to not do your job,” but she is Adamant! I just cannot get over the fact that she thinks she has the right to retain a job she is openly avowing she cannot do. Your God may be telling you not to license gay marriages, lady, but I will need to see the Bible verse where God insists that the only job on His green earth that you can ethically hold is that of county clerk. Because I really, really don’t think that’s part of His dictate. Resign your fucking job and find a new one. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, right? Go work for the Family Research Council. I’m positive they can fit you in.

Anyway. So there’s this whole kerfuffle, but the thing I have been thinking about the most is a story I found on Snopes a few months ago, when I was reading Snopes chronically because I have been feeling very dumb lately and I was enjoying reading about people who are dumber than me. This particular story about people dumber than me was a story about a guy who went to a WalMart and, when he got to checkout, found that the clerk in his lane was not checking out alcoholic beverages. He saw the clerk’s name on his nametag, noted that it was “not Steve,” and concluded that a.) the clerk’s name was Muslim, b.) the clerk was not checking out alcoholic beverages in accordance with his religious beliefs, and c.) SHARIA LAW WAS BEING UNLOOSED UPON THE NATION.

Well, it turned out that the clerk’s non-Steve name had nothing to do with why he wasn’t checking out alcoholic beverages. He wasn’t checking them out because he was underage. But the conservatives got a good fury-boost out of it anyway. Which leads me to this: here we have a situation where a clerk -- in a private establishment, no less -- was purportedly refusing to do a portion of his job because of his religion. Alcoholic beverages were being checked out by other clerks in other lanes, just as, we are constantly told by conservatives, gay marriage licenses are being issued by other clerks in Kentucky.* Furthermore, another clerk could quickly step into that clerk’s lane and check out the alcohol if a transaction was already in progress, just as, as Kim Davis’ legal team notes, a clerk from a neighboring county could be deputized to issue Rowan County gay marriage licenses so Davis wouldn’t have to do it. I mean, it’s a really small concession to make to protect someone’s religious freedom, right? Just go to the next lane, or the next county? Everybody gets their alcohol, or their gay marriage, and nobody has to violate their religious freedom? What could possibly be wrong with that?

Well, in the case of WalMart, it’s that that would apparently be a forerunner of the establishment of sharia law in the US, despite the fact that it was a private establishment (unlike the county clerk’s office) whose employee was not doing anything in the name of the government (unlike Kim Davis) and that was not trying to establish a legal precedent that would impact the country at large (unlike Kim Davis). None of those last things matter because it would be fundamentally wrong to allow someone to plead off from doing their job because of their religious convictions!

But Kim Davis? I mean. She’s Christian. So none of that applies. Right?


*Which argument makes me BATSHIT because WHAT HAPPENS IF THEY START REFUSING GAY MARRIAGE LICENSES EN MASSE, AS COULD WELL HAPPEN IN A HEAVILY CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVE STATE. The argument “there are other people who will do this” only holds meaning if THE LAW IS MAKING THEM DO IT. But anyway.


Posted by: Nathaniel Wolfthorn (ganimede)
Posted at: September 1st, 2015 10:06 pm (UTC)

It'd be nice to see you back on LJ, I miss your posts!

I have a friend in Kentucky and he's been posting stuff about Kim Davis refusing to do her job so I've been following it with some interest. The thing that gets me is that apparently she can't be fired because she's elected? It seems like such an odd job to be elected for. But also, if you go to the office when it's her day off, you still can't get your marriage license because her son works on those days and obviously, he agrees with his mother. It's like it's a family business!

But you're forgetting the one vital point in all of this: religious convictions of these sorts do not respond to logic.

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: September 1st, 2015 10:11 pm (UTC)

I didn't know that about her son. Wow. That's really crazy. And, yeah, she can't be fired because she is in fact elected (I know, that threw me too), and when I asked in my subject line "can you impeach a county clerk," I later learned that yes, you can, but they probably won't. Because it's Kentucky. And people actually support this woman. Gaaaah.

I think you have to be a special sort of logic-free and attention-seeking to pull a thing like this, when the solution is so obvious (RESIGN. YOU CAN'T DO THE JOB.) There are Christian clerks who did resign after it became clear that legally they would have to give gay couples marriage certificates. Obviously I don't agree with them (heh) but I respect that they were willing to stand by their beliefs and live their faith in a sane way. This business of "I should be allowed to not do my job because JESUS!" is ridiculous.

Posted by: Nathaniel Wolfthorn (ganimede)
Posted at: September 2nd, 2015 08:40 pm (UTC)

We don't really use impeachment here any more. There was a request to impeach Tony Blair a while ago but it was decided that it was an obsolete procedure. It seems such a bizarre and extreme thing to do to someone who is pretty much a nobody in the grand scheme of government. I know there's been talk of either fining her or sending to her to jail and you just know that if the latter happens, she'd be practically considered a martyr for her cause.

It does smack of some kind of attention-seeking and it just makes you wonder what exactly she intends to get out of it all. There's only one possible outcome and it's not going to be the Supreme Court turning round and saying, "Oh, I'm so sorry, I didn't realise how strongly you felt about the whole gay marriage thing, so I'm just going to cancel the whole legality of it, just for you."

A friend of mine shared a quote from the Lamda Legal Director that says, "I have to wonder: how many of those supporting Kentucky clerk Kim Davis' refusal to issue marriage licenses based on her religious objection to same-sex couples marrying would support a Quaker government official who refused to issue them gun permits based on a religious commitment to pacifism?" The answer is none because of the lack of JESUS. Obviously.

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: September 2nd, 2015 08:47 pm (UTC)
!queer (female perversions)

OMG THAT LAST QUESTION. That's perfect. Though don't Quakers sort of have Jesus? (I think Jesus would be pretty anti-gun myself, but that doesn't stop conservatives from writing articles like "Who Would Jesus Shoot?")

I do think attention-seeking has to be the main thing. She's the face of the movement now and people are telling her she's amazingly wonderful and brave. I think originally she did want the Supreme Court to conclude that she didn't have to issue the licenses, and now she's just dug in too deeply to go back on it.

And yeah, I think impeachment is a more common thing here than it is there, but I've always thought of it as something reserved for, like, Presidents and people who have a good deal of power. Not county clerks. The whole concept of impeaching a county clerk sounds pretty ridiculous. Of course it's even more ridiculous that in this case they won't do it.

I am really enjoying rediscovering all my LJ icons. I forgot about this one (although the book that inspired it will remain forever green in my heart. It's amazing.)

Posted by: Nathaniel Wolfthorn (ganimede)
Posted at: September 6th, 2015 07:32 pm (UTC)

To be honest, I'm not sure if the Quakers do have Jesus, but if they do I think he's more in the background and less of a main focus.

It's got to be pretty hard to back down once you've stood up for your beliefs for so long and especially when you're getting that kind of response. I'd heard that there were people saying they'd pay any fines if it came to that so she's obviously had a huge amount of support. And now she's been sent to jail but only for a week or something. It all seems like it got a bit out of hand on both sides somehow - she wasn't able to back down and neither was the court.

Yay for rediscovering LJ icons!

Posted by: Brandoch Daha (ticktockman)
Posted at: September 1st, 2015 10:36 pm (UTC)

Yes, she can be impeached. In fact, because hers is an elected position, she can be removed ONLY by impeachment. Apparently she's got enough support in the state legislature to prevent that from ever happening. Because the voters will turn out an legislator who votes law over Christianity, apparently.

She wants to be a martyr and bask in the adulation while in jail. She (and her junior staff) have been ordered to come back to court Thursday morning and appear in front of the Judge who has already ordered her to do her job.

Posted by: Brandoch Daha (ticktockman)
Posted at: September 1st, 2015 10:37 pm (UTC)

Hmmm... I left my reply window open for like ... forever ... so I didn't realize I was covering the already-been-discussed.

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: September 2nd, 2015 06:08 pm (UTC)
!irish (fight me)

That is the nicest thing to say! And I know, it's so nice to see long-time LJ friends still here, the people who made it feel like home back in the day.

I would like to ask Kim Davis and her friends what they would think if a Muslim public servant refused to do his/her job because it conflicted with their religion. We'd see how long their principles would hold up to that.

I mean, I know I keep coming back to that example, and it's silly because some of these evangelicals already have an answer: the government should respect Christianity because Christianity should be the national religion -- "Christian America" and dominionism and all that. I know they don't think it's hypocritical to say Christianity should be respected and Islam not, because they think one is good and the other is evil and the law should reflect that. They're just a tiny bit hamstrung by the fact that the law *doesn't* reflect that. Their goal really isn't to adhere to the Constitution at all, it's to rewrite it. So my pointing out their hypocrisy wrt Islam is meaningless. But... oh.

Posted by: Daughter of Odhin (gythiawulfie)
Posted at: September 2nd, 2015 12:42 pm (UTC)
Welcome Back!

Yeah, impeachment... in Kentucky.... but that's what it is going to take.

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: September 2nd, 2015 06:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Welcome Back!

I was very disheartened last night when I realized that the fines she is going to face are going to avail us nothing -- she can be fined in perpetuity because she can just have her supporters PayPal her money, and there are plenty of them to do it. And they won't impeach her. So yeah, this could just go on forever.

Edited at 2015-09-02 06:10 pm (UTC)

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