On Tap for September 8, 2015

Kim Davis and Lawyer

Some thoughts on the Kim Davis/the marriage certificate case and what’s on tap from us this week.



The Kim Davis case is something that became more “news worthy” as last week went on. While I thought the jailing of Davis on Thursday by a federal judge would have been the end of it, it looks as if the conversation has shifted from federal vs state’s rights to questions regarding freedom of religion.


The knee jerk reaction to hearing the argument that Davis is being jailed due to her religion is a simple one.




Yet after reading Eugene Volokh’s piece in The Washington Post – he’s a professor at the UCLA School of Law – it made me realize maybe the issue isn’t so cut and dry.


Now for the record, Davis should ABSOLUTELY issue marriage licenses at gay couples, because you know, IT’S THE LAW!!! But does that necessarily mean specifically she has to do it? As Volokh theorizes in his piece,


“she objects to issuing such licenses with her name on them, because she believes (rightly or wrongly) that having her name on them is an endorsement of same-sex marriage…  [not having her name on the marriage certificates] would be a cheap accommodation that, it seems to me, a state could quite easily provide. It’s true that state law requires the County Clerk’s name on the marriage license and the marriage certificate. But the point of RFRAs [Religious Freedom Restoration Act], such as the Kentucky RFRA, is precisely to provide religious objectors with exemptions even from such generally applicable laws, so long as the exemptions don’t necessarily and materially undermine a compelling government interest.”  


We’ve talked about Religious Freedom Restoration Acts before as a tool politicians use to both help (Muslim women being allowed to wear burqas in public) and hinder (denying services to gay couples over one’s beliefs) individual freedoms. Currently we look at RFRA laws and social progressive issues (ie gay marriage, a women’s right to an abortion) as being counter-intuitive to each other. But as Volokh points out, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.


Understanding that Davis is an elected official and that she can’t justify her actions with RFRA laws, but still, maybe there’s a way that Davis can keep her religious principles – as closed-minded as we may perceive them to be – and have gay couples get marriage licenses in Kentucky.


Just a thought.


Anyway, here’s what we have on tap for this week.


  • Early this morning we introduced a new series in that we recommend movies and TV shows which are currently on Netflix Streaming (and have a political bend to them of course). We’re calling it, The Queue. For our first recommendation we think you should watch Armando Iannucci’s In the Loop. You can find our write-up here.


  • Yesterday President Obama ordered federal contractors into providing workers paid sick leave. We should have a 10-Point Expert up on the policy tomorrow morning.


  • We should be getting Lillian Faderman’s new book The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle in this week. But considering over 800 pages, it’s going to take some time to get through. Regardless, review forthcoming.


  • Last week we requested review code for Big Parma; a new sim-game that has you control a pharmaceutical company. It’s super interesting and we should be doing some kind of coverage with that next week. Stay tuned.


  • There have been a lot of random ideas about the 2016 primaries being thrown around in emails. While each not substantial enough to warrant their own post, look for an info dump on some of those thoughts this week.


  • And finally, yes we are going to have a discussion about Show Me a Hero and The Brink. That piece should be up in the next few days.


And of course, anything else that comes up. So stay tuned!



(Photo Credit: CNN)


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