September 9, 2015
By Star-Ledger Editorial Board
The woman who refused to follow the law and issue marriage licenses to gay couples is out of jail, but her future compliance is undetermined.
Kim Davis was released Tuesday after spending five nights in the crowbar hotel, and you can probably guess what happens next:
Now the vanguard for evangelical victimhood, the bible-clutching bigot of Rowan County gets hoisted upon the shoulders of a few dozen parade marchers, signs a seven-figure book deal, becomes the spokesperson for anti-gay hate groups masquerading as tax-exempt religious institutions, and gets showered with feckless praise by second-tier GOP candidates who drop in for a photo-bomb.
Now you know why her supporters were singing “God Bless America” upon her release.
Sometimes you can refuse to do your job, even after you’ve sworn an oath to “faithfully execute the duties of my office without favor, affection or partiality, so help me God” (how does she square this lie with God?) and be a heroine to … somebody.
Because here’s the enduring image from Davis’ big comeback: Drowning in tears of self-importance, she was escorted out of jail by Mike Huckabee – another zealot and opportunist starved for attention – and was happily reunited with people carrying signs that read “No to sodomite perversion” and “Gay: Got AIDS Yet?”
Bigotry, masquerading as piety.
But that’s America. You can let your prejudices slosh all over your personal landscape as long as nobody else gets soiled.
Judge David Bunning figured since licenses for gay couples were being processed, there was no need to incarcerate Davis. It’s good that she’s free. It would be better if her release would redirect the discussion onto the rule of law.
That might happen soon, actually: If there are further violations, Davis goes back to jail.
The judge isn’t trying to change her mind. She can believe whatever she’d like. No one is asking her to deny her faith or blaspheme God or violate her beliefs or burn a crate of bibles. She chose to turn it into a political issue, and the judge is merely using his authority to prohibit her from running her office as a theocracy.
With luck, she’ll enjoy her new life as a prop for pandering pols, with campaigns built on pious condescension and the rejection of federal law.