The Liberty Counsel recently published “Under God’s Authority,” a memoir of Kentucky’s Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis who gained international attention when she cited her Christian beliefs as the reason for her refusal to sign marriage licenses for gay couples in 2015.
She was jailed for five days for defying a U.S. federal court order to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.
A description of the book by the Orlando-based legal organization and Christian book publisher that supported Davis, teased that it “goes behind the scenes to reveal how God gave this unlikely candidate a platform to defend marriage and religious freedom.”
Although not made available to the media for review, here are 10 passages from the memoir which sells for $25 and is co-authored by Liberty Counsel employees John Aman and Mat Staver. Proceeds go the counsel.
1. Davis was disheartened when her lesbian friends stopped by her county office asking for a marriage license.
She wrote, “Susan,’ a woman I’ve known all my life, and her partner, ‘Patty,’ a former teammate of mine on a church league softball team, stopped by ... .”
“I played softball with you,” I said, looking at Patty. And nodding toward Susan, standing by my desk, I said, “I’ve known you my whole life. Why do you want to come here and do this? You know I’m not issuing licenses,” the book states.
2. Davis remembers those who did not take up her cause.
She wrote, “Almost nobody stood with me, at least not publicly. If people did agree, they kept it to themselves, except for a small few.”
When she lands in jail for refusing to grant the marriage licenses, she reads Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” she wrote.
“It touched my heart to read how he bravely stood for what he believed, which was his God-given right,” the book says. “‘One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws’ he wrote, adding, in the words of St. Augustine, ‘an unjust law is no law at all.’ And an unjust law, he said, is one that is ‘out of harmony with the moral law,’ or, as he put it, ‘the law of God.’”
3. In a number of places in the book Davis mentions having been married four times.
On how God used her to protect the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman she wrote: “How foolish, after all, is it that He would take someone who has been married four times, twice to the same husband, and use me to defend marriage in a case that attracted national and international attention.”
4. On David Ermold, who is now challenging her for the Rowan County clerk’s job, and his partner David Moore persisting in their demand for a marriage license through the Rowan County clerk’s office, the book says:
“But nothing I said satisfied the two men,” she writes about the 2015 event. “My right to protect my conscience made no difference to them. Instead, they grew rude and insistent, asking me over and over why I wouldn’t do it, telling me, repeatedly, about Obergefell (the civil right case allowing same-sex couples to marry) and the ‘law of the land.’”
5. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear was “brazen” in asking clerks to give marriage licenses to gay couples, the book says. Beshear also did not want to call a special session of the Kentucky legislature to alter marriage licenses to remove clerk’s names, which some at the time suggested as an option for clerks who did not want to issue marriages licenses to gays under their name.
“His edict forced officials like me to violate our sincere and deeply held religious convictions — and he offered no accommodation to our consciences, whatsoever,” she writes. “‘Neither your oath nor the Supreme Court dictates what you must believe,’ the governor informed me and other county clerks. “But as elected officials, they do prescribe how we must act.’ ”
“Wow!” I thought. “That’s pretty brazen of our governor to issue this mandate and show no heed to the moral convictions of clerks like me.”
“Well, maybe he could abandon his convictions — if he had them — in a matter of minutes. I could not,” she wrote.
6. Davis has a gay friend who made it a point not to ask for a marriage license.
A lesbian friend comes to visit Davis during the controversy. She wrote that her friend said: “You know the lifestyle I live.”
“Yeah, I know, and I still love you, though I pray for you,” Davis responded.
“If I wanted to get married, out of respect for you I wouldn’t come here to this office and get it. I’d go somewhere else,” she said. “On this issue, we can agree to disagree.”
7. Davis had serious concerns about personal security at the height of the controversy.
Her husband bought and sold a series of vehicles “to keep would-be stalkers guessing,” she wrote. “And I changed the way I went to work to thrown them off my trail. I also obtained a pistol for personal security.”
8. U.S. District Judge David Bunning, who ordered Davis jailed for contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gays, receives criticism from Davis.
“I knew the governor would not change his mind and call a special session. Nor would Judge Bunning relent. He wanted his order to issue marriage licenses obeyed — no matter the cost to my conscience,” she wrote.
9. Davis got to meet Pope Francis. They posed for photos together. She wrote, “The nuncio (papal ambassador) assured me we would get copies, but we never did.”
10. Davis, a longtime Democrat, found herself irked by the Democrats.
“Local, state and national Democrats turned their backs on me when I risked everything for marriage and freedom of conscience. Their betrayal forced me to do something I never thought possible,” the book states.
She switched to the Republican party, and she’s still opposed to what she sees as the LGBT agenda, she wrote.
“LGBT forces and their allies in the media, the courts, and higher education demand our silence and submission,” Davis writes.