Thursday, September 03, 2015

Circumcisions and Marriages

When our first son was born, the hospital told us that the circumcision would be performed by the on-call obstetrician. When she came through to see our son, we asked her about scheduling the circumcision. She said she didn't do circumcisions; it was against her religion. We had to wait until our son's first appointment with his pediatrician to have her perform the circumcision.

(Aside: If you're going to be there for your son's circumcision, don't actually WATCH the slicing and dicing. Just sort of look over his shoulder and offer moral support. Trust me.)

Rowan County (Kentucky) Clerk Kim Davis is refusing to issue marriage licenses to anyone. She says issuing marriage licenses to homosexual couples is against her religion, and to comply with the recent Supreme Court decision requiring equal treatment for gay couples, she has stopped issuing licenses to heterosexual couples, as well.

I get the argument that she should perform her job, and if the duties of her job violate her religion, she should find a new job. I can't get hired as a bartender and then refuse service to everyone on religious grounds, right? But Davis's job changed with the Supreme Court decision. If she should leave her job now, it would be because of her religion, and religion is one of the protected characteristics that is prohibited from being the basis of an employment decision.

Also note, please, that no one HAS to get a license from Rowan County. Kentucky, like most states, requires a marriage license from ANY county for a marriage performed in ANY county. Citizens of Rowan County can get licenses elsewhere and get married wherever they want in the commonwealth.

That's important to me because that shows that the people who are continually appealing for licenses in Rowan County aren't as interested in getting married as they are in making Kim Davis follow their religion, not her own.

What if every county clerk in Kentucky refused to issue marriage licenses? Well, then, the state would stop recording marriages. What's the big deal with that? It's what many libertarian-minded folks think is a more-elegant solution, anyway. Davis is an elected official, so if the voters feel she is no longer qualified to serve as county clerk, she will be replaced. And if the voters prefer the county stop being involved in marriage, that's their prerogative. This is a religious-conscience matter masquerading as an equal-rights fight. Stop trying to convert Kim Davis at the point of a sword.

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