Saturday, September 05, 2015

Legal arguments around Kentucky clerk seem surprisingly murky -- this sounds like my old "conflict of interest"

A few skewed legal authorities are claiming that marriage licenses issued in Rowan County Kentucky yesterday are worthless without Davis’s signature.

On the other hand, Davis’s attorney is saying that the legislature or governor could change the law so that a marriage license is treated like a deed, and that only the seal of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is required, not the personal signature of the Clerk.

While that change may sound innocuous and unobjectionable (and fall in line with my old theory “The Area of Mutual Agreement” in my DADT-1 book), many government jobs are predicated on the personal authority of someone who signs a document.  The same is true in many industries, like banking.

For example, note in the picture above how a local government treasurer uses his own name on documents.  This is like the Facebook “no double lives allowed” issue.

This case is roughly parallel to my own “conflict of interest” problem in the 1990s, when I was working for a company that specialized in serving members of the military, but wanted to fight the military ban in public with my book, as I detail on a Wordpress post here.  One idea very important to this narrative is that one should not have direct authority over others (as in the workplace) and the power to make decisions (personally) that can affect others, and still be active broadcasting one’s views in  public without the supervision of a “gatekeeper”.

Religious conservatives and some GOP pundits claim that the courts are “persecuting” Christians.  But there is no right to use one’s authority from a public office to impose one’s convictions on others.   That could pose a problem for someone’s whose implementation of religion requires him or her to “minister” to others in all areas of life.  Furthermore, not all Christians would agree with Davis’s invocation of scripture, and other religions besides Christianity object to gay marriage.
The Washington Post has an article by Robert Barnes and Katie Zezima, “Legally, ‘God’s authority’ is a tough issue”, link here. 

Update: September 8, 2015

Kim Davis has been released from jail today, but it is not yet clear what happens next. But she was told not to interfere with her office's issuing the marriage licenses by subordinates. 

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