Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who was jailed for a few days for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was given an award for her actions at the Values Voter Summit on Friday.
The “Cost of Discipleship Award” compared Davis to Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Abraham Lincoln because she “pursued justice at a great personal cost,” Jennifer Bendery reports at the Huffington Post. “In today’s conflict over the meaning of the irreplaceable civil institution of marriage, one elected official, Kimberly Davis of Rowan County, Kentucky, has inspired millions of her fellow Americans,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, reading from her award. “As her words and actions attest, she has proceeded with an unshakeable blend of humility and determination.”
It’s not the first time Davis has been compared to some of those American icons. Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee compared her to Lincoln because, in defying the Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, she acted like Lincoln who “disregarded the Dred Scott 1857 decision that said black people aren’t fully human…because he knew it was not operative, that it was not logical.”
At the most recent Republican presidential debate, Rick Santorum compared Davis to Martin Luther King, Jr. because King “said…that there are just laws and unjust laws and we have no obligation to condone and accept unjust laws,” adding that “an unjust law is a law that goes against the moral code or god’s law or the natural law.” Davis, he argued, did the same by refusing to abide by the Supreme Court rule, which “is against the natural law,” Santorum said.
Earlier in the day, Davis announced something else: she is switching her lifelong party affiliation with Democrats to Republicans, saying, “I’ve always been a Democrat, but the party left me.”
After she was jailed for less than a week, Davis has since returned to work after agreeing to allow her deputies to issue same-sex marriage licenses, although she altered the form to remove the office’s authority. The question of whether that action violates the court order remains unresolved.
Davis has, through it all, claimed that her religious beliefs made it impossible for her to sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples. Yet while space can be made for individual workers’ religious faiths and objections, those objections can’t infringe on the rights of those they are tasked to serve and also allow them to remain on the job.