Of the local officials who refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Kim Davis, the clerk here in Rowan County, Ky., is the best known, at least for now.Liberty Counsel seems to believe that if enough people resist the law, there'll be legislative pushback at the state and local level:
But there is also Charlie Smoak, a former magistrate in Moore County, N.C. And Nick Williams, a probate judge in Washington County, Ala. And Molly Criner, a clerk in Irion County, Tex., who has declared that “natural marriage cannot be redefined by government.”
All of them have argued that as government employees, they should not be required to recognize same-sex marriage, citing religious objections. And all have turned, for representation, to Liberty Counsel, a legal nonprofit that has been on the front lines of the same-sex marriage fight for roughly two decades.
Even if it is unsuccessful, Ms. Davis’s case may benefit the conservative cause in other ways, said Jennifer C. Pizer, the law and policy project director for Lambda Legal, a gay rights group. Losing such cases, Ms. Pizer said, could have the effect of persuading legislatures that rules should be changed to accommodate such dissenters.Or maybe Liberty Counsel just thinks that the government will give up and stop trying to fight resisters, if there are enough of them.
“There may be an effort here to create martyrs,” she said.
If that's the case, it would appear that Liberty Counsel is trying to do with same-sex marriage what Charles Murray proposes that right-wingers attempt in the case of government regulation. This is from a review of Murray's latest book, By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission:
[Murray] proposes a private legal defense fund -- the “Madison Fund,” honoring the father of the Constitution -- that businesses and citizens can rely on for representation against federal regulators. By engaging in expensive and time-consuming litigation on behalf of clients that refuse to comply with pointless rules, the fund drains the government’s enforcement resources and eventually undercuts its ambitions. The state can compel submission from an individual or company with the threat of ruinous legal proceedings, Murray writes, “but Goliath cannot afford to make good on that threat against hundreds of Davids.”Or, to put it another way, Murray proposes a campaign of harassment against government regulators, especially in the areas of business:
... Murray claims that his Madison Fund can essentially harass the government into compliance. The federal government, Murray claims, cannot enforce the entirety of federal law “without voluntary public compliance.” Federal resources are limited, and only a small fraction of these limited resources have been directed towards enforcement. Thus, Murray argues, by simply refusing to comply with the law and contesting every enforcement action in court, regulated entities can effectively drain the government’s resources and prevent it from engaging in meaningful enforcement.It seems to me that Liberty Counsel is trying to amass a large group of "Davids" to fight same-sex marriage, and that it's trying to serve as the movement's Madison Fund, using the contributions this high-profile campaign is bringing in. It's not hard to imagine right-wingers adopting this strategy to fight on both the social-issue and regulatory fronts -- and I can also imagine them backing down the feds. (Notice how much difficulty the feds are having in enforcing the law against the likes of Cliven Bundy.)
The Madison Fund would spearhead this campaign of harassment, defending “people who are technically guilty of violating regulations that should not exist, drawing out that litigation as long as possible, making enforcement of the regulations more expensive to the regulatory agency than they’re worth, and reimbursing fines that are levied.”
Charles Murray is best known as a coauthor of the notorious neo-eugenicist bestseller The Bell Curve, but he's widely praised on the right for other work. Shortly after this year's unrest in Baltimore, Jeb Bush praised Murray:
.... suddenly Charles Murray’s name is in the news again."Family formation" refers to Murray's writings on marriage and illegitimacy. Murray has also (in a book titled Coming Apart) blamed the struggles of downmarket whites on the fact that richer whites no longer live among them as neighbors (the well-to-do are supposed to lead them by example, I guess).
Asked to elaborate on his concerns about family formation, [former Gov. Jeb Bush] twice praised author Charles Murray, best known for his highly controversial 1994 book which touches on racial differences in I.Q., for his later research into the rise of single motherhood.The Republican presidential hopeful added, “I like Charles Murray books to be honest with you, which means I’m a total nerd I guess.”
“My views on this were shaped a lot by Charles Murray’s book,” Bush said.
This civil-disobedience thing is a bit of a detour for Murray -- but I wonder if Jeb, his "nerd" admirer, thinks it's a good idea. In any case, it seems to be a model the religious right is already following.