Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says he respects his employees’ faith — just not enough to let them practice it.
That was essentially what he told County Clerk Casey Davis in a meeting late last week over Davis’s decision not to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Comply or resign, the governor insisted. Davis refused. “I’ll go to jail before I quit my job,” he fired back. “If that’s what it takes for me to express the freedom of religion that I believe I was born with, I’m willing to do that.”
Governor Beshear dug in his heels, especially on Davis’s request (and that of 57 clerks) that he call a special legislative session to deal with the issue of religious liberty. “I will not be calling any special session on this topic and costing the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars doing so.” Instead, he’d rather make government officials pay the price — with their jobs.
“When [Davis] was elected, he took a constitutional oath to uphold the United States Constitution,” Beshear argued. But that Constitution also includes a First Amendment guarantee of religious exercise — which has been around two hundred years longer than whatever “right” five lawyers invented in June. Surely, Davis’s freedom deserves just as much consideration as these couples’ nuptials.
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In Toledo, Municipal Court Judge Allen McConnell is in the same boat as Davis and hundreds of other government officials who have been asked to violate their beliefs to keep their jobs. When he asked to be removed from a same-sex civil ceremony job, McConnell was subjected to harassment, protests, and even calls for impeachment. As the issue goes before the Ohio Supreme Court, local LGBT groups insist that Judge McConnell step down. “I respect his faith, but he needs to respect our laws,” one activist argued.
But the two are not mutually exclusive. When this Democratic judge opted out of the same-sex ceremony, another official performed it for him. There is absolutely no reason to force a person against their will to participate in something that contracts their sincerely-held beliefs. Religious liberty is America’s “first freedom” because the Founders knew that loyalty to God goes before loyalty to the state.
If we lose religious liberty, we’ve lost America. Join us in standing with government officials like Judge McConnell, who are literally putting their careers on the line for their convictions. These brave and women need to know that there are people who stand with them. So do your part.
Join more than 26,000 who have signed our petition on behalf of Judge McConnell’s freedom to live and work according to his beliefs!
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