The Herald-Leader thinks Kim Davis should "do her job or resign." But Davis is doing her job, and doing it well.
Davis has faithfully served in the clerk's office for almost 30 years. And in her first year as the elected county clerk, her office is on pace to generate a $1.5 million surplus — all of which will be paid to Rowan County for the benefit of its taxpayers.
One-tenth of 1 percent of the office's annual budget is connected to marriage licenses.
So what about the Rowan County couples who can't get marriage licenses? There aren't any. Any Kentucky couple can get a marriage license from any Kentucky county, and it's good throughout the commonwealth.
But what about the Supreme Court's marriage opinion? The court did not set aside the First Amendment that protects a person's religious beliefs and practice. To be sure, the First Amendment protects both public and private citizens.
The Herald-Leader argues that Davis is required to issue marriage licenses. But, Davis did not abandon her constitutional rights of conscience and free exercise of religion when she took office. The laws of the United States and Kentucky she swore to uphold include the laws that protect those very rights of conscience for all individuals, including clerks. The U.S. and Kentucky constitutions, and particularly Kentucky's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, require the accommodation of public officials' sincerely held religious beliefs.
Gov. Steve Beshear went far beyond the Supreme Court when he made it Kentucky policy to foreclose any possibility of a religious accommodation for county clerks.
Beshear made new law, and disregarded the laws he swore to uphold; he is the official who should do his job or resign.
Davis is merely asking that her religious convictions be accommodated. This case has never been about whether a person can get a marriage license. It is solely about whether a particular person can be forced against her sincere religious beliefs to issue the license.
Surely, the Herald-Leader would not force a Jewish chef to prepare a pork dish when someone else can prepare the meal. Even prisoners are entitled to have their religious beliefs accommodated. Shouldn't Davis have the same right?
Finally, when the Herald-Leader ran out of misinformed arguments, it began to criticize Liberty Counsel, which represents Davis. The editorial board should ask the ACLU — whose affiliate represents the plaintiffs — how it spent $133 million last year.
Contrary to what the editorial reported in its initial version, Liberty Counsel has far more staff than five. Before you place something in print, get your facts correct.
Liberty Counsel is not ashamed of defending Davis. Would the Herald-Leader criticize attorneys for representing someone on death row?
Certainly not. While the Herald-Leader is entitled to its opinion, we would expect that it would not resort to name calling. Stick with the issue. Davis is merely asking for her religious convictions to be accommodated. And we should be tolerant enough to respect her request.