Sunday, July 10, 2016

From the Archives: House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte is 'sympathetic' to Kim Davis

Publisher's note: This article was originally published on on September 7, 2015. The publishing platform was discontinued July 1, 2016, and its web site is scheduled to go dark on or about July 10, 2016.  I am republishing this piece in an effort to preserve it and all my other contributions to since April 6, 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original.

House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte is 'sympathetic' to Kim Davis

The chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee says he is "sympathetic" to Rowan County clerk of courts Kim Davis but also believes she is obliged by law to do her job and that no government official is "above the law."

At the annual Labor Day festival in Buena Vista, Virginia, Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA6) spoke to the crowd and spoke separately with members of the news media.

Offering an enthusiastic endorsement of local Delegate Ben Cline for re-election to the Virginia General Assembly in his speech to voters from Buena Vista and surrounding Rockbridge County, Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and an attorney by background, also answered questions about current events.

Kentucky contempt
One question posed by the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner concerned the situation in Rowan County, Kentucky, where clerk of court Kim Davis was jailed for contempt of court when she refused to issue marriage licenses or allow her staff to do so.

Davis claims her religion forbids her to endorse same-sex marriages, so she halted all marriage licenses in the county in protest of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. That ruling, in late June, declared that laws prohibiting marriages between gay or lesbian couples are unconstitutional.

Davis, a Democrat elected to her post in 2014, was jailed for disobeying a federal court order to issue marriage licenses in Rowan County, a standard and expected service normally provided by county clerks.

“I certainly am very concerned about the Supreme Court decision” in Obergefell, Congressman Goodlatte said, and “did not agree with that decision.”

He added: “I respect people who want to take that personal step but [Kim Davis is] a government official and, unfortunately, because she is a government official, she is required to uphold the law and that is to do what the law and the courts require of her.”

'Above the law'
The situation in Rowan County, he said, is “very, very difficult,” noting that he is “very sympathetic to her position. I agree with her position on this but I don't think she can use a governmental office for that purpose.”

“No one is above the law,” Goodlatte added, explaining that “you can certainly use your religious position as a private citizen or a private business owner or a member of a church – in your private life – to reflect your values of traditional marriage and belief that marriage should be between one man and one woman.”

The judiciary committee chairman said he shares that belief in traditional marriage, “but when a court enters an order, a clerk who has been sworn to take an oath of office does not have the option of not choosing to uphold her oath in that public office that she has been elected to or appointed to.”

Buena Vista's Laborfest marked its 45th consecutive year. In addition to Congressman Goodlatte, speakers included Delegate Cline (R-HD24) and attorney Ellen Arthur, Cline's Democratic opponent in the November election for the 24th district seat in the House of Delegates.


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Author Charles Murray argues same-sex marriage is ‘not a big deal’
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