The Wall Street Journal
Sept. 7, 2015 6:58 p.m. ET
Sir Thomas More she’s not. Where Thomas More was known throughout Europe when Henry VIII’s marriage plans put him on the outs with his king, Kim Davis was an obscure clerk in Kentucky’s Rowan County until her refusal to issue marriage licenses thrust her into the national headlines. Where More was celebrated for his learning—at Oxford and Lincoln’s Inn—Ms. Davis’s education is unclear. And where Thomas More resigned his office, far from resigning, this elected Democrat office-holder is asking the state to accommodate her Apostolic Christian faith.
Rowan County clerk Kim Davis is shown in this booking photo provided by the Carter County Detention Center in Grayson, Kentucky September 3, 2015.
Yet this much Rowan County’s clerk has in common with Henry’s Lord High Chancellor: Just as More was willing to go to the Tower of London rather than put his name to something he believed to be contrary to God’s law, Ms. Davis now sits in a Kentucky jail for a similar belief. And the conflict that sent her there is just as unnecessary today as it was in Tudor England. It’s easy to feel superior to Kim Davis and her messy personal life, which has included three husbands, four marriages and two children out of wedlock. Not to mention her talk about how she can’t do what the law requires because she “surrendered [her] life to Jesus Christ.” She even finds herself compared with George Wallace, the Alabama governor who in defiance of another federal court order stood on the front steps of the University of Alabama in 1963 to deny African-American students entry. But even if one rejects all her arguments, it remains an extraordinary thing in America to see an elected official who chooses jail over violating her convictions. Which raises what ought to be the key question here: Is the priority ensuring that Rowan County’s gay couples can get the marriage licenses they are entitled to, without hassle? Or is it breaking a Kentucky woman asking for an accommodation? If the goal is the former—to ensure the issuing of licenses—there are any number of solutions. Because though …Read More