By Cody S. Decker
I’ve been pacing the floor all morning. Only stopping at the kitchen table where my notebook sits to jot down a thought or two. Then away I go again. I’m a pacer. When I talk on the phone or when I’m trying to think I probably wear down a path in the foundation under the house. I haven’t been chatting it up with anyone this morning other than myself. Trying to wrap my head around all of this hoopla I’ve been hearing on the news about these damn county clerks here in Kentucky not issuing marriage licenses. It hasn’t been the easiest thing to try to decipher. My head hurts. But I’m going to give it my best shot anyways.
It’s no secret that I love Kentucky, from basketball to bourbon to Lake Cumberland and the mountains that surround it. It’s where I’m from. It’s where I was raised. The nature of the place is in my bones and nothing will ever replace that. No matter where I roam. So when I see these people (the Rowan County Clerk, Kim Davis and the Casey County Clerk, Casey Davis, in particular) making asses of themselves on National Television and being reported on by widely read news sites, it stirs up some anger inside of me.
Although they are not the only ones, they have been the most publicized. Hell, I called the office of the Wayne County Judge Executive, the county I was born and raised in, this morning to check in with them. Just to see if they were hopping on the “No Marriage for You!” bandwagon. I lied and told them that I was hoping to get married and wanted to make sure that the Clerk’s office was still issuing licenses. (Let it be noted that I tried calling the Clerk’s office first but the line was busy.)
The secretary politely told me that I could, in fact, still get my license. I thanked her and then asked if my old lady and I could still get hitched in the courthouse with the County Judge doing the ceremony. She became somewhat uneasy and told me, “No.” I made it perfectly clear to her that I was not a gay man seeking marriage but she told me that the new Wayne County Judge Executive, Mike Anderson, was not doing any marriages now.
I saved her from having to ramble off some practiced excuse and didn’t even ask why. What a shame. Now, you’ll never hear about Mike on the news because no real news station gives a rat’s ass about him or Wayne County now that these other two people have been headlining for months. I just wanted to put that out there solely because it bothers me.
Let’s get back to the bigger problems, though.
The folks that see these stories across the country have probably never been to Kentucky. Their initial thought could be that Kentucky is a place full of toothless hicks with cousin-uncles swinging from their family trees. I myself know that their assumptions are wrong, but how in the world are they supposed to ever think any different of the good people in this great state, if the only representatives we’ve given them recently are attention craving, hypocritical bigots. Now, before you get all fired up and say that I’m being too hard on them, keep reading. I’ve got some pretty good points to back up my statement.
This misrepresentation of Kentucky is not the only thing wrong with what these people are “standing up for.” It’s solely what struck my nerve to say something about this mess. I felt that if all of this were to come from a southern Kentucky boy himself, it may show some people that we aren’t all that bad.
There are many reasons why what they are doing is ridiculous. They claim that the government is forcing them to act against their religious beliefs. They also claim that the Governor himself should do more to protect their religious freedoms and rights. Lord have mercy…where do I even start?
The most factual point that I could make would be separation of church and state and how it should remain that way. Oil and water do not mix. Never have. Never will. As much as they want to think that they don’t, these people do have their First Amendment rights, no one is telling them that they may not practice their religion of choice. They still have that freedom. However, the people who wish to receive a marriage license from their elected government officials do not have such a right.
Essentially, by the clerks not doing their job based upon “religious beliefs” they are forcing their religion and the repercussions it entails upon others who may not pray their way. Thus, their First Amendment right has been breached. The government has said that it is unconstitutional to deny any couple the ability to get married based on their spouses. Casey and Kim Davis (no direct relation that I know of other than narrow-mindedness) knew that they were agreeing to be employed by the government once they took their positions. They knew that the government abides by the constitution, not the Bible. Yet here they stand firm, supporting the good book…when it reads in their favor.
For example, every McDonald’s employee will serve anyone a Big Mac that pulls through their drive-thru, unless it’s breakfast hours. They do not care whether or not you are gay, straight, or in-between. They don’t care whether you Praise Jesus or Hail Hitler. They realize that they were hired to a particular job and they do it. Any other job should be no different.
About the issue of the Governor needing to step in and protect “religious liberties”…no. He does not need to do that. I guess I could see where they may think that their religion is being picked on. That he is protecting gay rights over theirs. But this is not the case. It goes right back to the governor simply doing his job and upholding constitutional rights for those who have them. If he were to step in and do something specifically for their “religious rights” they feel that they are entitled to, everyone would then expect him to do the same for their religion. Then look at the can of worms that would be opened. It would be like it was back in grade school for the kid who brought a pack of gum to class. As soon as one person asked for a piece and a few others saw where it was coming from, the gum-giver had hands out with palms up coming at them from every direction. It would be a damn madhouse.
That’s enough of the technical jargon, though. Amendments. Church and state. Rights. Shew, I get bored just thinking about rereading those last two paragraphs. But I thought I should add it in.
You see, I don’t have a problem at all with organized religion. I was raised in a small town where the number of churches vastly shadows the number of restaurants, car lots, and department stores combined. I went to church on Sundays every now and then and was always surrounded by loving, caring and happy people. Not all religious people are out of control with hate against anyone that doesn’t follow their God. The part about religion that I despise is when people are hypocritical about it. When they won’t allow a man and man or woman and woman to get married but they have been ok for years with allowing people to marry and divorce time and time again. Or being fine and dandy with people who have had sex prior to marriage.
If they really abided by the ins and outs of the bible, they should have been lifting up skirts or checking for a tan line of an old wedding ring this whole time before they granted heterosexual couples the license to wed. I don’t think the Bible works that way, to just pick and choose what you wish to follow and still call yourself a “good Christian”. That phrase, “good Christian” I hear thrown around a lot when supporters of the clerks talk about them. Notice the word GOOD comes before Christian? Last I checked, good meant something totally different than what Kim and Casey Davis are doing.
If these people really are good Christian folk, do they not realize that God is supposed to be an all forgiving god? Do they not remember being taught over and over again that Jesus Christ was sent as the Son of God, as our Savior, to die for all our sins so we could be forgiven? That God will ultimately be the one who judges us for our worldly sins, not the people who believe in him. If this is the religion they follow, why worry so much about it? If they truly believe that they will be forgiven for their sins, why not do right by their elected responsibilities, do their jobs, then pray each night for God to forgive them for what they have done. Wake up the next day and do it all over again?
I’ll tell you why. They just don’t want to. Plain and simple. This woman has been told by a Federal Judge to do her job and yet she still won’t. She is enjoying the spotlight brought upon her by being a cantankerous and stubborn woman. The other clerk, Casey, has decided to ride his bicycle across the entire state of Kentucky to raise awareness for how Kim is standing her ground. That goes to show you right there the mental capacity of who we’re dealing with. For those of you that do not know the terrain of the Bluegrass State, it would be absolute hell on a man to ride a bike through the back roads of some of these counties. Plus, how is that helping anyone?
I can hear it now, actually I’ve already heard it, “Well at least she’s standing up for something she believes in.”. Ok, fine. If this is the case why slap her on the back for something she’s standing up for yet slap the people with opposing ideas in the face for doing the same thing? Are they not standing up for the fact that they believe in the right to marry the person they have loved for years? What’s the difference other than difference of opinion?
Forget all of this talk about amendments and rights and bibles, what about this: how tough is it to simply be a decent human being? Is it really that hard to do something that you may not agree with, even if it makes someone else happy? I don’t agree with picking up my dog’s shit from the yard but it makes my landlord happy, so I do it.
All joking aside, I respect people and their beliefs. I do not feel that any form of faith is right or wrong until it is used to harm others. I am neither Bible Thumper nor Bible Basher. I have my own personal religious beliefs and I keep them to myself. Never trying to press them on anyone for any reason, unless they ask. I try to see people for what we simply are: people. I am, you are, my neighbor Curtis is, the bus driver is, the homeless man is, the pilot, the police officer, the garbage man, the plumber, the millionaire, the bag boy at Kroger. We are all people on the inside and out. Who we love and choose to be with for the rest of our lives does not change that at all.
Listen, I know there will always be people who despise people who are different and would rather not be associated with them when they don’t have to. That’s a given in a world as big as ours. But if you are one of those people, please do everyone a huge favor and keep that shit to yourself. There are millions of happy people out there just wanting to live their lives. Don’t be one of the few that try to stand in their way.
Straight people have been making a mockery of marriage for many many years now. Why not loosen up a little and give gay folks a chance?
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