Kim Davis has taken up a lot of our collective bandwidth since the Supreme Court's decision on marriage equality. A Davis-free day is a small ray of sunshine in what has been an otherwise unending gloom. Unfortunately, we're not able to give you a totally Kimless blog post, but we promise that this one will only be Davis-adjacent.
So, Kentucky may have the nation's most infamous county clerk, but did you know that the Bluegrass State is also home to two other county clerks who have stopped issuing marriage licenses because of their stances on marriage equality?
Longtime readers of this blog may remember Casey Davis of Casey County, the biking enthusiast with a familiar name (no relation to She Who Must Not Be Named). Mr. Davis has been vocal about his opposition to granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples, stating on talk radio that he would rather fight and die than, you know, just do his job. He's appeared on television a number of times, tried to tangle with the governor, and has to refused to issue licenses to anyone, but has not gained the same media traction as the more famous Davis.
The second Kentucky county clerk has very little nationwide name recognition, but that might soon be changing. Yesterday it was reported that Kay Schwartz of Whitley County has lifted her total ban on marriage licenses and will now only refuse licenses to same-sex couples.
Now, Schwartz says she is granting licenses to "bride and groom" couples– and claims she never stopped issuing them– but will not provide the same services to same-sex couples.
Schwartz was not interested in talking with us on camera about her office's policies on issuing marriage licenses.
Her deputies also refused to comment.
Off camera, Schwartz told us she still refuses to issue licenses to same-sex couples.
At a rally in her support in July, Schwartz told reporters while she opposes gay marriage, she would like the issue taken out of her hands.
"I would love to see it banned, but like I said, they have their right to their belief. I have my right to my belief. So whatever they can do to take it away from my office, then so be it," she said.
In the same article, an ACLU spokeswoman called Schwartz's actions a blatant violation of the law, and we tend to agree. And there's more to consider. This is a step further than either of the no-relation Davises have taken: an absolutely discriminatory action that is not "softened" by a blanket ban on marriage licenses. No, Schwartz has drawn a line in the sand.
This has all the making of a Kim Davis 2.0 situation. When the inevitable lawsuit comes, Whitley County will be inundated with protesters, counter-protesters, lawyers, Republican presidential candidates, and media types. Kay Schwartz will be painted as a martyr and possibly end up a jailhouse saint by the Religious Right like her counterpart in Rowan County. We've seen it all before.
But until that happens, let's spare a moment for the ones who are truly facing discrimination: same-sex couples looking to fulfill their constitutional right to marry. May these current trials just be the birthing pangs of a new era when equality is a given and Kentucky is just known for its horses and bourbon.