In what might seem like a no-brainer move, the infamous Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis, has now decided to switch to the Republican party due to the dispute over gay marriage. The Rowan County, Kentucky clerk has been embraced by the Republican party and Christian conservatives ever since she put up a fight over the legalization of gay marriage, which became nationally recognized through the Supreme Court decision back in June. This decision while not surprising, does make you wonder if we might see more of Davis ahead of the Republican debates and primaries.
Mathew D. Staver, one of the lawyers working on the case for Davis said that she had came to the conclusion that the Democratic Party had left her to fend for herself, and because of this she is switching her voter registration to the Republican Party. It might come as a surprise to a lot of people that Davis was a Democrat to begin with, especially since many Democrats have been open to gay marriage and blame “right-wingers” for being opposed to the legalization of gay marriage. It seems that in this case, a lot of people, including politicians and the media, seemed to forget Davis was in fact one of their own. This decision was made public only mere hours before Davis attended the Values Voter Summit, which is a conservative gathering in Washington. Davis had been elected last year to the position in Rowan County, Kentucky as a Democrat. The legal battle that Davis has been ensued in has left her feeling alone in the battle, especially after she served five days in jail on a contempt of court charge. There were a lot of Democratic Party leaders that shunned Davis, including Governor Steve Beshear, who said he would not call a special Legislature session in order to consider amending the marriage laws in Kentucky.
So as the Democratic leaders began to distance themselves from Davis, the Republican leaders embraced her, saying that her religious liberties as an Apostolic Christian were being shredded into pieces because the courts had ordered her to issue the gay marriage licenses. Two Republican candidates were there to embrace and meet with Davis as she was freed from jail, including Senator Ted Cruz and former Governor Mike Huckabee, and Senator Rand Paul also showed his support for Davis although he did not attend the welcoming party. There have been many Democrats and Republicans wondering what this would do for Davis and her party values, although Mr. Staver, her attorney claims this is not a political issue but more is about religious freedoms in the country. Staver said that this is about an inalienable right and this is what is supposed to make America about the land of liberty, but instead this has become a partisan and political issue. The chairman of the Rowan County Democratic Party, Mr. Beshear’s office, and the chairman of the local Republican Party all could not be reached for comment once this news broke.
This news however is coming only one day after the lawyers for Davis criticized Beshear in a court filing and argued that she had only become part of the litigation because of Beshear not taking small steps that could accommodate Davis, including accommodating her deep religious beliefs about marriage. The legal status of Davis continues to change day by day, especially after last week she announced that the licenses that were issued by her deputies would not be valid because she did not authorize them and they did not carry her signature or status with the court. Davis had also ordered that all of the marriage license paperwork be altered, so now it says “Pursuant to Federal Court Order” and not her name or her job title, and now there are questions about whether these altered documents are indeed valid under Kentucky’s laws, although Beshear did say they would be recognized by the state. Even Judge David Bunning, who was the Federal District Court judge that ordered Davis to jail has not said whether or not these altered marriage licenses are valid, and it’s a point that he still has not commented on although her deputies have filed in court attesting to the changes and questioning the validity of them. The American Civil Liberties Union however believes that they are invalid and that Davis has directly breached the judge’s instructions by altering the forms, saying this creates a two-tiered system for the marriage licenses and it should not be legal what she is doing. This is a judge that was appointed by George W. Bush, and he has previously said that public officials cannot pick and choose the laws in which the court orders them to obey and hold up, so at this point it is unclear what will happen to Davis if the judge rules she has yet again been violating the court order, although it’s likely she will be heading back to jail for contempt if that happens.
As of now it is not known when the judge is going to hear the case about Davis altering the marriage license forms, although it was brought up previously when she was in jail, and the judge was alright with that. Since Davis was already in jail though, it’s not known if that was why the judge was okay with the alterations or whether he is alright with the alterations when she is at her job working, given the fact that her name should still legally be on the paperwork because she is the clerk. At any rate, it appears that Davis has found out that the Republican party is the only ones willing to stand with her and fight on this issue, which should not be surprising since a lot of Republicans are against gay marriage and are upset with the Supreme Court making it legal across all 50 states, since most feel at best it should be a state issue and not federal issue.