Kim Davis’ crusade and the legal argument over “Marriage”

Kentucky's Kim Davis is proof that getting government involved never leads to more freedom, and usually just screws everything up

Lesbian Wedding by Amy Schubert - Licensed under creative commons
Lesbian Wedding by Amy Schubert - Licensed under creative commons

Indianapolis, September 6, 2015 – The five times married Rowan County Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis, spends Labor Day weekend in jail because she has openly refused to obey a court order that obligated her to issue marriage licenses to homosexual and lesbian couples.

Lighten up, Rowan County – do you jail every employee who isn’t doing her job? Lighten up, gays of Rowan County – get in line for a different clerk!


The legal arguments are as convoluted as the politics driving them.

Kim Davis: Legally failing in her stand against same-sex marriage

Kentucky defines marriage as between one man and one woman – that’s still the state law, but the Supreme Court of the United States says that, somewhere buried in the 14th Amendment is a right that allows anyone to change any legal definition, in their own political interests, state laws notwithstanding.

That’s bizarre, particularly because there is no federal authority that allows the federal government to say anything, either way, about marriage. All the federal government can do is enforce contracts – which is what civil marriage is. (Religious marriage is off the table for the state.)

Something the wonks on both sides miss is that one does not need a license to enter into a contract.

Marriage, at its roots, is a spiritual arrangement. Religions adopted it and wrote it into their dogma, and states, sensing yet another venue for revenue and control, have taken it over.

But what is marriage, legally?

Kim Davis, the servant who refuses to serve

It’s a system of preferences in taxation, ownership, tort and criminal law – it’s a convenience for government, in the administration of preferential treatment and special “rights.”

A marriage contract, which would be legal, could be constructed from a series of drop-down menus. Both (or all?) parties would sign it; government would enforce it.

That’s all “marriage” is, or should be, in a civil environment. Religions are free to set their own rules, but religions don’t have privileges to grant through the legal system, and religions (in the US, at least) don’t have the power to tax or to imprison people.

Religious sanction of marriage is a community status or convenience, “worth” whatever the parties decide it’s worth to them, but it’s unnecessary in the realm of our court system.

The entire state-sponsored edifice of “marriage” is a sham.

Let me illustrate: I’ve been to a lot of weddings, and never once have I heard the prenuptial agreement get incorporated into the spoken vows. The spoken vow, being the most-recent agreement, supersedes the prenuptial, and thus voids it.

That leaves the spoken, witnessed, and officially-sanctioned marriage vows as the whole of the official contract.

That’s laughable in current practice –’til death us do part? — so why is the state performing or licensing marriages, as even the state itself seems to be saying that the marriage ceremony is not what it says it is: a publicly-witnessed enforceable contract.

If, as millions of court rulings (divorces) prove, the marriage vows are unenforceable as a contract, why are states so adamant about anything (or everything) having to do with “marriage?”

Face facts, the idea of a marriage contract is not taken seriously by anyone; it’s merely a revenue stream and a convenience for the taxing body, and it has no relevance as a contract in the legal framework.

As a religious ritual, it has all the value the parties involved assign it and nothing more.

In no way is modern “marriage” relevant – any people who want to write up a contract governing their living and property arrangements are free to do so; the government is obligated to enforce those contracts.

It’s done.

Religions, in this land of religious freedom, are free to set their own standards and conduct their own ceremonies. It’s blesssed.

Everybody wins, and everybody can live in peace. That’s what “freedom” is all about.

Getting government involved never leads to more freedom, and usually just screws everything up, as one pressure group after another attempts to take over the government’s monopoly on legal force.

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