Thursday, September 03, 2015


The New York Times points out today that Kim Davis is not alone:
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.

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.
Liberty Counsel seems to believe that if enough people resist the law, there'll be legislative pushback at the state and local level:
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.

“There may be an effort here to create martyrs,” she said.
Or maybe Liberty Counsel just thinks that the government will give up and stop trying to fight resisters, if there are enough of them.

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.

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.”
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.)

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.
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.

“My views on this were shaped a lot by Charles Murray’s book,” Bush said.
The Republican presidential hopeful added, “I like Charles Murray books to be honest with you, which means I’m a total nerd I guess.”
"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).

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.


Victor said...

Does anyone realize that Kim Davis - that noted pious "Christian" - has been divorced three times?

Not once.
Not twice.
But three times!

I thought those wedding vows she took, like her government vows, were sacred and eternal?

I guess not.

You don't want to issues wedding licenses to gay people?
Find another job!
Otherwise, just do your job, and STFU!

Victor said...

Ooops, forgot the link:

Feud Turgidson said...

Now she's been thrown in jail for contempt of court. There's several routes to how that could come about, and I don't know which one was taken, but we'll know soon enough.

Silly bunt.

Steve M. said...

Now she's been thrown in jail for contempt of court.

KA-CHING! Picture a cartoon in which Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver has the pupils of his eyes replaced by dollar signs.

Feud Turgidson said...

The way to deal with the Madison Project funding of a thousand suits of derp, and Liberty Coounsel too if they act as the funnel, is for the courts to find THEM in contempt, and second their funds.

Palli said...

Rowan County is small (23,300) and Kim Davis spent 26 years as her mother's Deputy Clerk who had the elected post for 40 years. Amazing to me is the salary: $80,000/yr while the median woman's income in the region is only $20,104. National pay scale is actually 23,014-57,806 annually for the Clerk position. No wonder Kim feels she can do what she wants to: it is her fiefdom. Talk about legacy jobs. Her family has been well above the median family income of $33,000 for a long time.

Last week she certified a marriage of a Trans-gender man and woman. She felt comfortable with the couple so she never asked for a birth certificate? Wonder if she thinks she will burn in hell for that?

retiredeng said...

Rowan County sounds like the setting of an appallingly bad black "comedy" called "Nothing But Trouble." Backwoods America is littered with these kinds of places where the local politics is anything but "normal."

Feud Turgidson said...

Things are looking up for Kim Davis: her current (and I think also 2md and 4th married) husband, fellah named Joe Davis (Joe D!

[Where you all been Joe D, Kim Davis' hub?
Wolf Blitzer casts his vacant look t'ward you.
Kook kook a drool & a violent threat,
Jerkin' Joe will soon be put away.]

has been issuing threats at the governor and the judge.

Bruce Webb said...

This tactic fails once bail (available in unlimited amounts via wing nut crowd funding) is replace by jail.

Anyone can be a martyr once financed by six digit contributions and able to live large as a consequence. But wearing orange and eating PBJ for breakfast and bologna on Wonder Bread for lunch and Mac and Cheese for dinner day after day makes martyrdom well martyrdom. Particularly when urged to stay the course by lawyers in $3000 suits.