Can One Person’s Religious Views Override the Supreme Court? The Definitive Answer: Ummm…Maybe? Perhaps?

Can One Person’s Religious Views Override the Supreme Court? The Definitive Answer: Ummm…Maybe? Perhaps?


In July of this year, by a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that marriage is a civil liberty granted by the Constitution of the United States. This decision essentially ended decades of debate about same-sex marriage in America. The very next day marriage licenses were legally granted by county offices across this nation. Whether you agree or not (most polls show 60% favor while 40% do not favor same-sex marriage), the debate was over. Or so I thought.

In Kentucky, several county clerks, decided to stop giving marriage licenses to any couples. One of those individuals is Kim Davis, County Clerk of Rowan County. She has been on record saying that gay marriage is inconsistent with her Christian beliefs and in good conscious, she cannot grant same-sex couples a marriage license with her signature. In September, Kim Davis was arrested for Contempt of Court and jailed without bond. She has since been released, and her office is issuing licenses without her name and authority. Some say these marriages are legal and will be recognized by the State of Kentucky and and some say they will not.


I went to visit my father-in-law this weekend, and as usual, the topic of politics came up as did this case. I couldn’t believe that there was much to debate, but boy, was I wrong. Here is a bit of the back and forth (picture Archie Bunker and “Meathead” arguing about politics on ‘All in the Family’).

Joe: Did you hear about the county clerk in Kentucky who got arrested for not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples? Can you believe that one woman and her personal beliefs can impede the law of the land and the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage?  This is the United States, not a Christianity state. We are a country of laws and religion doesn’t trump those laws. Whether she agrees of not, the Supreme Court ruled on this, period, end of story. She needs to do her job without prejudice.

George: Ever hear of the first Amendment to the Constitution, which grants all Americans freedom of religion? And, if her religious beliefs dictate that she can’t authorize same-sex marriages, she shouldn’t be forced to do so. The nation, state or county should provide her with an accommodation and work with her religious beliefs. They do this with captured terrorists in Guantanamo Bay detention camp, so they should grant this to Ms. Davis, an American citizen.

Joe: Civil liberties are pretty important too. She is violating their civil rights to get married. If she doesn’t feel like she can issue a marriage license to gay couples, simply do the honorable thing and resign like others in similar positions.

George: I disagree. These couples can go to the next county and get married. She is not violating anyone’s civil rights. She is merely acting in accordance with her religious beliefs. Furthermore, she is an elected official, elected by the people of Rowan County. She doesn’t have to resign and she cannot be fired for not obeying a law. The President doesn’t obey the immigration laws of this country now, but can you fire him?

Joe: No, but he can resign and he can be impeached.

George: That’s right, and if the good people in Rowan County disagree with her, they can impeach her or the state government can change how they issue marriage licenses in Kentucky.

Joe: So, you’re saying that one elected official can override the Supreme Court of the land. You’re comfortable with that? Are you comfortable with a county clerk who will not authorize marriages from different racial groups based on his/her religious beliefs too?

Your Turn:

1) Do you think that a county clerk should be able to ethically put his/her religious beliefs before the law of the land?

2) What do you think Ms. Davis should do in this situation?

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  1. One cannot exercise their religious beliefs when they work for the entire county. Some members of the county may not believe the way she believes and therefore cannot be discriminated against because they do not believe the same way. Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion and the religious right always forgets this. Also, they pick and choose what parts of the bible they want to follow and adhere to. If she works for the private sector then she can exercise her beliefs all she wants, but she was elected to perform for the government. Why should someone who lives in one county have to go to another county to get a license? This is not a seperate but equal situation. If I pay taxes in one county, why would I want to go to another? Why would I have to? My civil liberties, my civil rights determined by man’s law, not gods law is the law of the land. I am an aetheist and do not believe in a god so why would you put your beliefs on me. I don’t go around saying that god-fearing people are just ignorant and sheep that follow a fictional character. The consitution clearly seperates religion from governing to ensure one groups belief does not marginalize another group. That is my right, not to have your religious beliefs placed on me. People who state they know the constitution and then say that this Kim woman is right, have obviously no idea what the constitution reads.

  2. Kim cannot use religious belief to deny same-sex couples the right to get married as the supreme court made the decision (5-4) that everyone has the right to be married, whether it be ‘inconsistent’ to her christian beliefs or not, as stated everyone has the right to marriage whether they be same-sex or not.

  3. I think this debate could easily go in favor of either side. While I believe everyone should have the right to religious freedom, I also believe that no one should be denied the right to marry. I think if Davis could’ve had someone else sign the marriage license it would’ve cleared things up for both sides. I’m not sure if it is legal for someone else at the county to do that, but it would avoid the problem.

  4. I think it is wrong that she denied their marriage licence because of her selfish reasons its legal why cant she except that?

  5. In the bible it states that the people must follow the law of the land. In a nutshell, what Davis did was unethical and also against biblical standards. There was another woman who had dealt with the same issue. Instead of denying a marriage license which was rightfully belonging to a gay couple, she resigned from her position. This is what Davis should have done instead of breaking the law.

  6. I believe that we all have our rights and if her religion goes against same sex marriage then she shouldn’t be forced to. Maybe, its wrong in the public’s eyes but to her its a sinful thing. In my opinion its up to whoever is getting married choose its not my call to say what they can and cant do, i think she should just do her job but as her rights she shouldn’t be forced , . Its kind of a tough subject , but if its ruled by the Supreme Court then people should be granted Marriage Licenses.

  7. I agree with Kim i will not go for same-sex marriage and i don’t care what other people think it’s not right so in my words GO KIM !!!!!!!

  8. I don’t think anybody should push his or her beliefs on anybody, this nation was founded on the freedom of religion, but people abuse this and use it to their advantage such as in a case like this and they think they can’t get in trouble because of the first amendment. If you have religious beliefs I respect you and everything your religion stands for but if you start shoving it down other peoples throats that is where I start to lose the respect i once had. Personally I think that Kim should apologize to the couple and give them there license.

  9. As an gay individual this is kind of complicated to think about and the answer as to right or wrong falls where it does purely on point of view and interpretation. The order of which civil liberties is a very important system for deciding where one right ends and the another begins, similar to the system of operations in math. In the US people have the right to worship and act accordingly with their beliefs but of course this is only to the extent that these actions do not cross the lines of another’s rights. This is an extreme comparison but it gets the point across. If someone follows a religion that requires burnt offerings that is fine but when that offering is another person’s life, then the first individual’s right to worship ends short. If the priorities where switched however then the opposite is true. In end it is like people who use PEMDAS arguing over the answer to an equation with someone who uses SADMES (pemdas reversed) of course the first will be correct but following the seconds logic the first is wrong