Thursday, August 27, 2015


Come Out With Your Hands Up!

As I noted before, there has been very petty resistance to the same-sex marriage decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Texas dragged its feet, after Obergefell, before amending the death certificate of a man legally married in New Mexico to reflect his relationship to his deceased spouse, when the man is, himself, dying, preventing him from straightening out their estates. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is now begging the Federal court not to hold him in contempt.

Next up is Kim Davis. Davis is the Rowan County (Kentucky) Clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses to either opposite or same-sex couples, despite the fact that there is one clerk in her office who has no religious objection to issuing same-sex licenses.

US District Judge David Bunning issued a preliminary injunction requiring Davis to issue the marriage licenses but stayed it until August 31st to give Davis a chance to try to get a further stay from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal. The Sixth Circuit has now denied Davis a stay pending her appeal. The money quote from the Sixth Circuit:
The request for a stay pending appeal relates solely to an injunction against Davis in her official capacity. The injunction operates not against Davis personally, but against the holder of her office of Rowan County Clerk. In light of the binding holding of Obergefell, it cannot be defensibly argued that the holder of the Rowan County Clerk’s office, apart from who personally occupies that office, may decline to act in conformity with the United States Constitution as interpreted by a dispositive holding of the United States Supreme Court. There is thus little or no likelihood that the Clerk in her official capacity will prevail on appeal.
To anyone with a lick of sense, it is over … but Davis has displayed no ability to get her tongue anywhere in the vicinity of reality.

It'll get interesting if and when there are contempt proceedings. The state has ordered her to issue the licenses and the county has denied any power to require her to issue them. That leaves her, as a practical matter, the only one to pay any contempt sanctions. However, the judge could bring the state in and say "It's your responsibility to issue the license in Rowan County ... work it out!"

I wonder when and if Liberty Counsel will tell her "If you get cited for contempt, we won't pay any sanctions, even though we advised you to defy the court."

And so it goes …

I think to reflect the quality of their work, that law firm should only ever be referred to as " 'Liberty' 'Counsel' ".
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