Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Kounty Klerk in Kentucky

Do you remember that county clerk in Kentucky who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses? Kim Davis is her name. Kim the Kounty Klerk in Kentucky. She was told to do so since it’s, you know...the law of the land now...but still refused. In fact, she decided that she just wasn’t going to issue ANY stupid ol’ marriage licenses. Harrumph! Take that, gay people!

There was a lawsuit, as expected, and a federal judge ordered her to do her damn job. (I’m paraphrasing.) Ms. Davis continued to refuse to issue licenses, despite the probable contempt of court charge. The same judge issued a stay early this week on his order as the woman seeks an appeal of his ruling. A shame, really. I was totally on board with seeing her ass thrown in jail.

I read a great commentary on it from Garrett Epps at The Atlantic, and you should read it, too. It’s probably the best analysis I’ve read concerning this case and issue. This is a great quote from the article:

Government serves everyone, and the preferences of its employees aren’t relevant in that regard. Whether it’s flying a fighter jet or issuing a license, an honorable government worker will do the job or quit. Full stop.

I can’t begin to write as succinctly and eloquently as Mr. Epps, but I have a few thoughts on the matter.

It reminded me quite a bit of a while back when a few pharmacists were refusing to fill birth control pill prescriptions because it went against their faith. I had the same reaction to them that I do to Kim the Klerk: “Then get a different job!”

As far as I know, all health care professionals take an oath. As a Medical Technologist, I took one, and I took it seriously. (Here is the MT/MLT Code of Ethics.) Nowhere in there is an exception for not treating someone or for not working on their cultures based on my religious beliefs. A patient is a patient, and it was not in my job description to make moral judgments on others, including when it came to sexually transmitted infections. My job was to evaluate all specimens for disease-causing organisms. As Mr. Epps wrote, “Full stop.”

Granted, an oath for health care professionals is different from the oath that elected officials such as Kim the Klerk take when they are sworn in. However, it is still an oath. Her job is to issue marriage licenses, period, and the Supreme Court of our country has ruled that marriage equality is the law of the land.

Kim the Klerk is free to practice her religion however she wants. She can handle snakes, she can speak in tongues, she can pray before her meals at restaurants, she can go to all the church potluck suppers she wants to and stuff her face until she's ready to explode, and she can enjoy the fellowship of her church pals in whatever way they choose.

What Kim the Klerk can’t do is discriminate. That is exactly what she is doing by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. To stop issuing them to all couples means that she isn’t doing her job. If her and her pals want to talk shit about The Gays at those church potlucks, they can knock themselves out. By all means, gather together and lament the direction your country has taken, have serious discussions about how this is the End Times™ and how God is going to send his fiery judgment down upon America! Cry in your Ambrosia Salad, Kim! Cry those bitter tears!

But when you go back to work on Monday, spent from your little circle jerk of outraged persecution, you’d better start doing your damn job and issuing those marriage licenses. If you can’t do that, I think it’s time to move on to something that you can do.

Perhaps your church has an opening for a secretary.

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