Tuesday, September 8, 2015

We are just one kook away from a tragedy in Kentucky


David Badash has an excellent piece on the demonstration at Judge David Bunning's home protesting his holding Kim Davis in contempt of court. Heated rhetoric and misinformed Christian zealots at the home of someone that they believe is insulting the word of Jesus. What could possibly go wrong?

It is important to understand who these people might be and what they were told.

Saturday, Rev. Flip Benham (the whack job father of the Benham Brothers) and Pat McEwen (a Florida anti-choice activist) issued a statement via Christian Newswire titled “Federal Court Judge to be Held in Contempt September 7, 2015.” Benham has a constituency that this intellectually incurious and at least indirectly tied to violence on the part of anti-abortion zealots.

Here are some of the untruths that they have told their followers:
Judge Bunning has illegally and with malice charged Mrs. Kim Davis, with contempt of his court order forcing her to legitimize illegal marriage certificates to individuals of the same sex in Rowan County.
Judge Bunning's actions have been perfectly legal and will hold up to scrutiny by higher courts. The Supreme Court has held that gays have a constitutional right to marry. Their marriage licenses are legal and valid. I suppose that I should credit the accuracy of Kim Davis and Rowan County in that paragraph because everything else is false. Apparently conservative Christians have license to be dishonest when it suits them.
We are calling for the sheriff of Rowan County to immediately arrest Judge David Bunning upon his entering the courthouse on Thursday, Sept. 10 for illegally incarcerating Davis and impeding her from performing her duties as county clerk. Judge Bunning is in contempt of the Court of Almighty God and the constitutions of both Kentucky and the United States.
This is absurdism. The problem is that followers don't know that this is all baseless hyperbole. The intended inference is that the sheriff is remiss in not having arrested the judge for illegal activity. The contempt power of federal courts is certainly legal and constitutional.
Kim Davis has broken no law. There is no law passed by Congress and signed by the President of the United States that would force her to issue marriage licenses to individuals of the same sex.
This is a theme that has been developing on social media. It is completely false. The Supreme Court has determined that gays have a constitutional right to marriage. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has already held that “it cannot be defensibly argued that the holder of the Rowan County Clerk’s office, apart from who personally occupies that office, may decline to act in conformity with the United States Constitution as interpreted by a dispositive holding of the United States Supreme Court.” In other words, Ms. Davis is constitutionally obligated to issue those marriage licenses.
She [Davis] is not in violation of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky section 233a: "Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized."
A right afforded by the US Constitution supersedes any restriction of that right by a state.

For example in 1966, in Miranda v. Arizona, the Supreme Court held that criminal suspects must be informed of their rights to remain silent and to counsel in accordance with the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. Incriminating statement elicited without this warning are, with few exceptions, inadmissible.

There is no “Miranda Law” passed by Congress and enacted by the President. It is a right guaranteed by the Constitution. Every federal, state and municipal law enforcement agency is obligated to comply. Any state laws that might nullify Miranda are void.

Kentucky's same-sex marriage ban has been held invalid by the Supreme Court. That it remains in the state constitution is irrelevant.

The bottom line to all of this is that there are probably individuals who believe that God wants Kim Davis out of jail to do the job of preventing gay marriages. They might further believe that Judge Bunning's personal whims are the sole reason that Davis is incarcerated. Inflaming this situation could have tragic consequences in conservative Kentucky. Some of these Christians might be armed and dangerous.

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