Friday, September 4, 2015

Marriage Licenses in Kentucky and Elsewhere

All the news over Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk now in jail for refusing to sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples, made me remember the day I got my own marriage license.

I was 22 years old by a couple of days, which is--I'm mostly talking to my daughter here--FAR TOO YOUNG to be getting married. My fiance was (and is) three weeks younger than me. We had graduated from college six weeks before our wedding. I was an anti-Bridezilla--just about the most clueless young bride-to-be possible--and I seem to remember that we almost forgot we had to get a marriage license. We scrambled to get to the courthouse on time.

I was taking care of my sister that day. She was 2 1/2 years old. As I said, I was 22, but I might have looked a bit younger, given that the last time I got carded buying beer in a grocery store was this July. (Seriously? There's a reason I don't color my gray hair.) Anyhow, my beloved, and myself, with my golden-haired little sister in my arms, schlepped into the clerk's office. I filled out my form, which included the number of times I'd been married before (0) and the number of children I had (0).

The clerk sighed, loudly and rudely, and pushed the form back to me. "It says, 'How many children do you have?'" she said.

"Right," I said. "Zero."

The woman rolled her eyes and gestured to my sister, who, because she was a smartass even back then, and because she got a lot of private amusement over being mistaken for my daughter, patted my shoulder and murmured, "Mommy."

I said, "She's my sister." I didn't say, "bitch," but I thought it.

My point being that I don't think the clerk approved of my getting married. But there wasn't a jiggety thing she could do about it. I'm pro-same-sex marriage myself, and Christian, if that matters, but I certainly disapprove of serial killers or serial adulterers getting married. I disapprove of anyone getting married for the sixth time. I disapprove of child molesters and pretty much anyone on the registered sex offender list getting married. I disapprove of Tiger Woods having any sort of relationship at all.

However. Kim Davis was elected to uphold the laws of Kentucky, whether or not she approved of them. I believe abortion to be morally wrong, but that doesn't mean I get to arrest women who have abortions: abortion is legal in this country. So is same-sex marriage. If Kim Davis's beliefs are such that she can not perform the duties of her job (as an elected official, she can't be fired) she should step down. However, in doing so, she would forfeit her salary of $80,000 per year. Which tells you that her religious convictions, strong though they may be, are worth less than $80K.

Jesus spoke out against divorce several times, but never in written Scripture against homosexuality. For the absolute best religious essay on this topic I've ever read, go here. Seriously. It's worth your time.

P.S. I stayed married. Twenty-six years and counting. We chose well.