What Does Kim Davis Want? The Fix The Kentucky Clerk Is Asking For Is Simpler Than You Think

Last week, after she refused to obey multiple court orders, Kim Davis was found in contempt of court and jailed as a result. The Kentucky clerk had been refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite gay couples' constitutionally protected right to marry and orders from a federal judge, on the grounds that it violated her religious beliefs. Davis was so staunch in her disobedience that she was "prepared to go to jail," effectively making her a one-woman symbol and now martyr for conservative protectors of religious liberty. But she wasn't looking for fame or martyrdom. So what does Kim Davis want exactly? The answer is actually pretty simple.

Prior to Judge David Bunning's contempt ruling and jail order last Thursday, Davis had told Fox News that she was fully willing to accept the consequences of her actions.

I've weighed the cost and I'm prepared to go to jail, I sure am. This has never been a gay or lesbian issue for me. This is about upholding the word of God. This is a heaven or hell issue for me and for every other Christian that believes. This is a fight worth fighting.

It all sounds very epic, as if she were leading the charge in some holy war. But Davis is not seeking to overhaul religion and government in the U.S., even though many of her supporters are now using her as a symbol and fuel to do just that. All Davis wanted at the end of the day, according to her attorney, was a clerical adjustment.

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In her application to stay her injunction, Davis' legal counsel have suggested several seemingly simple logistical solutions to her moral predicament, including:

  • Deputizing a county clerk from a neighboring county to issue licenses in Rowan County
  • Removing Davis' (and other clerks') names from the marriage licenses, and thus removing the "personal nature" of the authorization
  • Deeming Davis "absent" and allowing the chief executive of Rowan County to issue them in her place
  • Distributing Kentucky marriage licenses at the state level instead of the county level

The second option in particular would be an easy compromise for all parties involved.

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Matthew Staver, who is representing Davis, told ABC News:

She has a very strong conscience and she’s just asking for a simple remedy, and that is, remove her name from the certificate and all will be well. That simple remedy has simply been ignored by the court and by the governor and that’s what should have been done.

Under current Kentucky law, marriage licenses require authorization from the county clerk who's issuing them, and it's this authorization that Davis views to be a personal endorsement of same-sex marriage and therefore a violation of her religious beliefs.

While Davis' suggestion might be a relatively simple solution to her personal dilemma, the discourse she's created will undoubtedly make the overall larger issue much more complicated.