For those of you wondering when Kim Davis will go back to jail for her continued interference in the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses, you may not have long to wait. Since it was revealed that Davis, in violation of the terms of her release, continues to interfere in the proper licensing of legal same-sex couples, legal experts say that she may be headed back where she belongs soon enough.
Upon Davis’ release, she was given one order, a pretty simple one for even the most braindead bigot to follow — stay out of the way or “appropriate sanctions would be considered” if she continued to insert her religion into others’ lives. Davis promised to defy the judge’s orders again and, upon her return to work, she made good on that vow. In an effort to ensure that no licenses granted without her authority were valid, Davis confiscated the official forms and made numerous unauthorized alterations, including a complete removal of her name and the county name. In a status report Friday, deputy clerk Brian Mason’s attorney told the judge:
“Kim Davis came to the office and confiscated all the original forms, and provided a changed form which deletes all mentions of the County, fills in one of the blanks that would otherwise be the County with the Court’s styling, deletes her name, deletes all of the deputy clerk references, and in place of deputy clerk types in the name of Brian Mason, and has him initial rather than sign. There is now a notarization beside his initials in place of where otherwise signatures would be.”
“It also appears to this counsel those changes were made in some attempt to circumvent the court’s orders and may have raised to the level of interference against the court’s orders,” he wrote in a filing, adding that “these changes may in fact have some substantial questions about validity.” The forms now say that licenses are issued “Pursuant to Federal Court Order #15-CV-44 DLB.”
On Monday, lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union wrote that the licenses’ validity is “questionable at best,” and that the new forms bring “humiliation and stigma” to the couple to whom they are granted.
“The adulterated marriage licenses received by Rowan County couples will effectively feature a stamp of animus against the LGBT community, signaling that, in Rowan County, the government’s position is that LGBT couples are second-class citizens unworthy of official recognition and authorization of their marriage licenses but for this Court’s intervention and Order,” lawyers for affected couples claim.
Davis’ attorney, however, says that in altering the forms without authorization and making alterations to already-completed forms, she made “a good-faith effort to comply with the court’s order.”
“The ACLU’s motion to again hold Kim Davis in contempt reveals that their interest is not the license but rather a marriage license bearing the name of Kim Davis,” the bigot’s lawyer says. “They want her scalp to hang on the wall as a trophy.”
Plaintiffs are requesting a “limited takeover” of Davis’ office in light of her reticence to even stand aside and allow progress to happen. The judge could, if he chooses, appoint someone reliable to oversee the issuance of licenses, and Davis could indeed be headed back behind bars.
University of Louisville constitutional law professor Sam Marcosson says that such situations are “unusual and extraordinary,” employed only when no other remedy seems to be effective and someone continues to break the law. He says that the judge could appoint a lawyer, another Rowan County public official, or any citizen he feels will do the job. Most importantly, Davis might be tossed in the slammer:
“It’s almost a worst-case scenario. The worst case scenario would be to send her to jail again.”
It is unclear what the judge will choose to do at this point, but it’s safe to say that he — and everyone else — is tired of this whole affair.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.