SIU professor explains KY county clerk case could be first of ma - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

SIU professor explains KY county clerk case could be first of many


A Kentucky clerk is still refusing to give marriage licenses to same sex couples even after Supreme Court denied her emergency order. 

Rowan County Clerk, Kim Davis turned away same-sex couples who were wanting to get marriage licenses, stating it was against her religious beliefs.

A federal judge ordered her to issue them, and an appeals court upheld that decision, but she still turned away couples.

She requested an emergency order from the Supreme Court, that would allow her not to have to follow the court judge’s order to issue marriage licenses to same sex-couples.

Her request was denied, but Davis still would not issue the licenses.

SIU-Carbondale professor, Bill Freivogel, said more cases may come where there are two important constitutional values in conflict.

"One the one side, the clerk is asserting her freedom of religion, under the 1st Amendment, freedom of conscience," he said. "And on the other side, we have the Supreme Court's decision that part of the liberty that's protected by the Constitution as the right of an individual to decide whom to marry."

And he said cases similar to Davis' could be the first of many. 

“The cases that are going to be much tougher for Supreme Court is where you have a florist, or a baker, or a caterer who does not, who's just a private business person and doesn’t want to bake a cake or cater or provide flowers for a same sex wedding and can they do that?" Freivogel explained.

Freivogel said the federal government currently has no law that bars discrimination against gays and lesbians.

"About half the states have laws that make that kind of discrimination illegal, the other half don't," he said. "So in the half the states that have no laws and where's there's no federal law, presumably a a person, a private person can say 'I won't bake a cake for this same-sex marriage,' and they probably aren't violating the law.

The more interesting question is in the states that do have laws that make that discrimination against gays and lesbians illegal, are those laws at odds with the freedom of religion portion of the 1st Amendment, because Constitution trumps the law."

The Supreme Court has not yet decided to hear Davis’ overall case, this was just about an emergency order.

Freivogel said the Supreme Court could still possibly look at Davis’ case when they’re back in session in October. 

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