Kim Davis held in contempt of court, will go to jail

Kim Davis has been held in contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses, in violation of a previous court order.

Davis had said she was prepared to be sent to jail over the issue, and today the court did exactly that:

As I wrote this morning, for Davis, jail is her briar patch. For her (and her lawyers), this is no longer about God and is instead about the publicity and money that comes with having the Religious Right (which is neither religious nor right) think of her as a martyr:

Of course, sending Kim Davis to jail is exactly what she wants. That’s how you get the appearance on O’Reilly and the GoFundMe page and the book deal. By openly daring the courts to put her behind bars, Davis is trying to upgrade the “family business” (Davis and her mother have combined to hold the Rowan County Clerk position for nearly 70 consecutive years, despite a close call in last year’s election).

However, as Judge David Bunning ruled, simply fining Davis would not be enough, as she could pay the fine (with more than enough help from an wave of conservative cash) and continue to refuse marriage licenses:

This being the case, removing Davis from office is the only way to ensure that same-sex couples (and straight couples, for that matter) can have their marriages in Rowan County, Kentucky move forward. It doesn’t matter whether Ted Cruz gets another talking point on the campaign trail; it matters that all of the couples who have been illegally denied their right to marry under Davis’s clerkship can have that wrong righted.

Kim Davis, along with every other public official who has tried to use their religious opinions to ignore the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling, have lost every legal battle they have waged. Everyone saw this coming.

Now let’s get through that backlog of marriages and move on.

Update: That is, if there are any non-crusaders in Davis’s office:

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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63 Responses to “Kim Davis held in contempt of court, will go to jail”

  1. JenK says:

    Offering money to a public official for your political goals is bribery.

  2. JenK says:

    Isn’t it bribery if a public official accepts money from a politically motivated group?

  3. JohnnyD says:

    I suspect you are 100 percent correct. I eventually arrived at the same conclusion, but in a much sloppier fashion, as you can see. But at least I got there.

    Now if I can just rein in that nagging inner voice always urging me “Oh yeah, you just absolutely MUST weigh in on THIS topic. Seriously. People will thank you, I just know it. So go on, do it !”

  4. Moderator3 says:

    A little humor is definitely a good thing, and we all misfire occasionally.

  5. White&Blue says:

    Just to make sure the mods see it as well: I apologise for that joke. I sometimes enjoy a little darker humour, but I understand that not everyone likes it. Didn’t mean to appear like an a-hole on the internet. Again, apologies.

  6. White&Blue says:

    I see. This is a very good point and I didn’t realize that it could offend someone. Definitely a big mistake on my part. I’m glad you pointed this out, I’m always happy to correct any inconsiderate behaviour when someone points it out. Thank you. (And I don’t mean that sarcastically) . I do apologize to anyone who might have been offended by this.

  7. Moderator3 says:

    Perhaps the lack of response was due to others thinking it was best to ignore it.

  8. JohnnyD says:

    No big deal to me, It’s just that the “dropping the soap” joke is a joke about homosexual rape, and the lady in the article was jailed for refusing to grant marriage licenses to homosexual couples. Just struck me that somebody might think you were making a statement about a “punishment befitting the crime”, as a “payback” for the lady’s refusal, so to speak. A lot of people have been discouraging the use of that joke recently, as the subject is certainly no laughing matter to those who’ve been on the receiving end of it. It was with that in mind that I made my comment.

    But, as evidenced by the complete lack of other responses, I guess I’m the only one who noticed or cared, so never mind, I guess.

    Sometimes I just make something out of nothing, and would be better off just saying nothing. This might be one of those times.

    Sorry to have bothered you.

  9. Brian Jackson says:

    My question: can your name appear on a Kentucky ballot if you are currently being held in contempt of court?

  10. White&Blue says:

    Err, could you rephrase/clarify your statement a little? (English isn’t my primary). And I have to admit that was a really lame joke. A career in comedy definitely isn’t for me.

  11. JohnnyD says:

    You know, I really wouldn’t care if they believed in their redemption through admission of their sin and acceptance of Jesus, if they didn’t also consider it to mean that their sins never took place, and thus they are now sparkling clean and apparently self-righteous enough to preach at and talk down to others on that, or any similar topic, as though speaking from a position of authority. Something about a “first stone” comes to mind.

    “Atonement” is another which does, and which seems much more appropriate. But apparently being washed in the blood of Christ makes one forget what an asshole they formerly were, removing any need or obligation for them to make amends to all those they hurt with their assholishness. Unless by “making amends” one means attempting to cajole those they wronged into joining them in the church, by demonstrating how simply pretending to others they no longer have any bad human traits actually makes them better than they are.

    This goes hand-in-hand with inability to admit making personal mistakes and errors in other areas. I submit George W. Bush as an excellent example of the process. Directly responsible for perhaps a million unnecessary deaths in Iraq, he can’t think of a thing he would have done differently as President. If a religion is accepting of the premise one of theirs can kill thousands by decree so long as it was justified by God’s voice in their head, I don’t want to be a member, or anywhere near, that church, or any of the crazies in it.

  12. JohnnyD says:

    Although I share your sentiment regarding Kim, I sure wish you could have found a better example of a reason not to be in prison, particularly considering the basis of her refusal to do her job.

    Or was that intentional?

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  14. White&Blue says:

    Bye bye. And remember: you REALLY don’t want to drop the soap in prison.

  15. Moderator4 says:

    Good-bye. You are banned.

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  17. FLL says:

    I think when Nicho saw “was (and is)” in my first sentence, he thought that I was saying that Catholic doctrine hadn’t changed since the early 16th century. Of course I understand that Catholic doctrine has changed since the 16th century. My comment referred to both the 16th-century practice of selling indulgences (which ended by the end of the 16th century) and the 20th-century Catholic practice of really leaning on parishioners to cough up financial support for the Church. Both my parents rather resented that and eventually adopted a secular lifestyle. I too remember Catholic clergy telling people to gain forgiveness with only prayer. Restitution? I don’t recall any real emphasis on Catholic clergy telling their followers that they had to do right by the people that they wronged in order to be forgiven for their sins. If there was a real emphasis on “restitution,” I think either I or you would have remembered it.

    Having said that, I don’t think American Catholics (the laity, in any case) are the major political problem. Any number of polls in big cities have shown that Catholics are more likely to support things like marriage equality and anti-discrimination laws than non-Catholics. Only Jews score higher, and not by much. Grass-roots hate is much more of a problem among evangelicals, which is why I replied to your comment about the evangelical Jeebus racket.

  18. Knottwhole says:

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  19. BeccaM says:

    Thank you. His comment history is an absolute cesspool of bigotry.

  20. Moderator3 says:

    Bye-bye, ol’ staight one.

  21. BeccaM says:

    Well, ‘restitution’ can take a great many forms, and for the sacrament of Confession does not necessarily require direct amends or restitution of any kind. I can’t begin to tell you how many times my assigned penance from the parish priest was no more than a few minutes of Our Fathers and/or Hail Marys. Only the short-lasting “Really Cool Early 1970s Priest” (his actual name eludes me, but I remember he had a nice 70s-style porn-stache and sideburns) in our parish ever told us we had to say some prayers AND make up our transgression with whomever we’d actually wronged. (A practice that ended the day this priest left and we were back to Old Father Grumpypants and his almost physically indistinguishable assistant pastor Fr. MiniMe.)

    I think what FLL is referring to are the Indulgences, which in centuries past were a means by which someone could get pre-forgiveness for some sin they wanted to commit. But I could be mistaken.

    But like many other fundamentalist-type faiths, traditional Roman Catholicism is just as prone to the practice of people doing whatever the hell they want, then drop to their knees afterwards and claim Jesus’ forgiveness for whatever it was. And then go right back to doing it again, knowing full well all they have to do is convince themselves their repentance is sincere.

  22. nicho says:

    Send all your money. Take out a loan. Sell your car. The more the better. Why should you live better than she does? You can donate here:

  23. michael s says:

    If there is no GFM page, I’ll just have to make a direct donation. You queers are going to burn in Hell.

  24. nicho says:

    The big difference is that Catholic doctrine requires restitution for sins to be forgiven. And you just don’t give money to the church to be saved. Maybe in the 15th century, but not since then. I carry no brief for the Catholic Church, but your characterization is just wrong.

  25. Aww, hell! If she tries that hard let’s go ahead and make it official…

    From this day forth, Kim Davis is an honorary Palin!

  26. FLL says:

    The Catholic racket was (and is) to tell people to give bribe money to the Catholic Church and its agents in order to be saved. Martin Luther, John Calvin et al went to the other extreme and told people that they would be saved by faith in Jesus alone, regardless of what they did, as long as they “repented.” As you pointed out, Becca, that just became another scam. People who steal, lie, cheat and discriminate are now drawn to evangelical Christianity because they can do horrible things, repent and ask Jeebus for forgiveness, do more horrible things, and on and on. Very cynical. They don’t want to make amends for the bad things they do or change their behavior, so evangelical Christianity is tailor-made for them.

  27. revphat says:

    Thanks for posting this Gary.

  28. BeccaM says:

    She and her supporters like to claim that because Davis “Came To Jeeeeeebus” in the last few years, it makes up for and negates every bad thing she ever did in the past.

    And that’s the great thing about this fundamentalist Christianist racket: You can be a horrible person and never make amends to anybody. Just claim repeatedly that Jesus forgave you, no proof required.

  29. FLL says:

    Good catch, and a hilarious one. I’m glad the folks at GoFundMe won’t put up with this nonsense. Of course, when God tells her to resign as County Clerk, she’ll be free to pursue book and lecture deals… and be a favored guest on Fox News.

  30. nofauxnews says:

    How odd that the religious right now thinks of the woman who SO sanctifies marriage that she is on her FOURTH, and who SO believes in the dictates of Christianity that she has borne children without the sanctity of marriage, as their hero.

  31. Indigo says:

    Yes, I remember her and respected her voice. May she rest in peace.

  32. BeccaM says:

    Oh dear, I remember her. That’s most unfortunate. She was and will continue to be missed.

  33. GarySFBCN says:

    Personal note: I don’t know if you remember Lorraine (meow) from the early days on Ablog. She passed away this week.

  34. BeccaM says:

    Excuse me while I burst out laughing. ;-)

  35. Bronxboy47 says:


  36. BeccaM says:

    Five of the six deputies have said they will obey Judge Bunning’s order and resume issuing marriage licenses tomorrow (Friday).

    The lone holdout? Davis’ son, who was working in the office with her. No word in the linked story as to whether the son would be going to jail, too.

  37. BeccaM says:

    She’s a serial polygynist, to be sure.

  38. BeccaM says:

    Wouldn’t surprise me if that was merely a temporary situation. The Rowan County local government is clearly not happy with Davis’ bigoted shenanigans, given they’ve filed ‘official misconduct’ charges against her with the DA’s office. A salary claw-back wouldn’t be unusual under the circumstances.

  39. Demosthenes says:

    I’m dizzy!

  40. Don Chandler says:

    Yeah, she has to sit down with her new peers and wonder if she has been well represented….liberty counsel ??? 80,000/yr job??? heaven??? Gays Spiking in the endzone???

    Mulish intransigence…I’ve been looking for that expression!

  41. FLL says:

    I’m sure Judge Bunning was aware of a likely Christianist GoFundMe campaign or that millionaire who’s the main donor for NOM. Fines just wouldn’t have had any effect, so Judge Bunning had no choice but to jail Kim Davis. She can only be only be impeached by the Kentucky General Assembly. The Democrats control the Kentucky House of Representatives and the Republicans control the Kentucky Senate. It seems unlikely that she would be impeached and removed from office. The more likely scenario is that Kim Davis will serve whatever amount of time she deems necessary to turn herself into a cause célèbre, and then she will receive instructions from God to resign as County Clerk, thus freeing her from jail and allowing her to accept lucrative book and lecture deals. Kim Davis, venal scumbag that she is, will probably cash in to the extent that she will never have to do another honest day’s work in her life. Remember, gentle reader, fundamentalist Christians and their money are soon parted.

  42. Don Chandler says:

    How do you keep these facts straight? Clearly through a fact checker.

  43. Indigo says:

    And yet she’s being paid in full, even while doing time.

  44. Naja pallida says:

    Sounds traditional to me.

  45. BeccaM says:

    We’ll see. It is somewhat amusing and perplexing both, how in all of Davis’ bitching and moaning and weeping about how it’s “physically impossible” for her to obey the law, resigning from the elected office she willfully refuses to serve fully is never on the table for her.

  46. Indigo says:

    That’s going to take longer than a pregnancy but so be it.

  47. Indigo says:

    Oh. Well, then let that hillbilly-grifter rot.

  48. Jon Green says:

    Since she’s an elected official, she needs to be impeached in order to be fired, and even if there were the votes in the legislature to impeach her, they aren’t in session.

  49. nicho says:

    Actually, there are only three husbands. #2 and #4 are the same guy. Was hooked up with #1, got knocked up by #3, married #2 (who adopted #3’s kids), divorced #2, married #3, then divorced #3 and remarried #2. Try to keep that straight.

  50. BeccaM says:

    I understand the arguments against jailing Davis. Or more to the point, with the contempt charges as requested by the ACLU not including jail.

    But in another sense, Judge Bunning also had to look at it from his side of things, and that had to include whether or not to allow a sense of impotence for the entire U.S. federal court system to continue due to one woman’s mulish intransigence. The idea of contempt of court fines is they be onerous enough to compel obedience. Not only does Davis currently have access to some rather deep pockets (from social conservatives willing to pick up her tab indefinitely) thereby removing any potential sting for continuing to disobey the law, it is often difficult for courts to compel timely payment of the contempt fines. And if Davis (and her legal representation) is willing to keep filing frivolous appeals all the way to the Supreme Court and back, and still refuse to obey, there is zero doubt she’d file endless delaying appeals on the contempt fines, too.

    Or to put all this another way, yes, sure, perhaps Davis does want the martyrdom of being sent to jail. But after induction and being issued a jumpsuit and the end of regular public attention, being in jail, day after day, week after week? In time, after her office has resumed issuing marriage licenses and she’s been forgotten by her fickle allies, she’s likely to be singing another tune.

  51. I sincerely pray that, in this – her time of need, Jesus can help her…

    with her white trash wardrobe!

    What is she – a sister-wife?

  52. Nelson Kerr says:

    So wha?t, they can try to pray her ut of jail as long as they want.

  53. Bronxboy47 says:

    Was she arrested and brought to jail on the spot?

  54. Indigo says:

    Fine her, fire her. Now she’s in the slammer collecting her salary for not doing her job. Welcome to Kentucky, the state that doesn’t need to make sense.

  55. MoonDragon says:

    I wonder if she’ll get a big, bad mama to protect her.

  56. nicho says:

    Of course, now the jail will become a focal point for prayer vigils for her sorry ass.

  57. 2patricius2 says:

    Good decision. Sure, her supporters will call her a martyr for Jeebus, but they have already been doing that. She is a common criminal, a public employee who refused to do her job despite court order. She refused to grant gay couples their constitutional rights. Her supporters were lined up to pay her fines and fees. Jail was the only choice.

  58. Demosthenes says:

    Are conjugal rights allowed in Kentucky? Perhaps she can be joined In the slammer by her 4 husbands in support of “biblical marriage”.

  59. Don Chandler says:

    Bunning had no other choice. He could allow her to continue to undermine his judicial authority and undermine our laws, or toss her in jail.. Telling citizens that need forms that they will face judgement day is really really bad religion and a horrible work ethic…I mean horrible!

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