03 September 2015


by Andy Weddington
Thursday, 03 September 2015

"Every man who says frankly and fully what he thinks is doing a public service." Leslie Stephen

With some frequency I receive email with recommendations for commentary. Appreciative I am but there simply is not enough time to tackle everything and most sit idle. Sorry. But late this morning a note arrived suggesting Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Kentucky clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses for gay couples as apropos for comment.

Rarely do I offer two comments on the same day. But so goes today.

During rigorous exercise and house cleaning I mulled it over - to include whether or not to publicly opine at all and finally concluding why not in the spirit of public service.

Simply, whatever Ms. Davis's Christian beliefs and position she is wrong to disobey the law. 

She was not elected to be nor empowered with the title 'Police of Morality.' 

Ms. Davis is a public servant charged with carrying out her clerk duties in compliance with law. The Supreme Court ruled. And one of her duties now includes issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. 

Per Sir Leslie Stephen, Ms. Davis is free to speak her mind. That she is and in so doing is doing a public service. 

But Ms. Davis is not free to not carry out her duties - defiance of law. 

Therefore, if for whatever reason Ms. Davis is unwilling to carry out her duties then she should either resign in protest or be dismissed. 

While finishing this short comment news broke a judge ordered Ms. Davis jailed. Well, what else is to be done with a citizen, an elected official, in violation of law? If only Congress had such a sense of responsibility and duty to the public (our country may not be in the current state of chaos). 

In closing, a conversation about the degradation of society, gay marriage, et al., is one ripe for stimulating discourse but has nothing to do with the matter at hand - rule of law. And order. And the duty of the elected.  

Post Script

In analogy I offer 26 1/2 years of commissioned uniformed service and sometimes carrying out orders with which I did not agree. But the orders were lawful so duty bound I obeyed and in turn so did my Marines. No regrets. 

1 comment:

Steve Morgan said...

Do commissioned officers have a duty to ALWAYS follow orders? You and I know that is not the case. We obey the "lawful orders" of those appointed over us. We also, like Ms. Davis as an elected official, took an oath to uphold the Constitution. What then do we and she do when we consider the Constitution violated or when we receive an unlawful order?

Granted we can't have every L/Cpl and Colonel adjudicating the Constitutional merits or legality of every order or every law, but seriously Andy- your take on what to do when your heartfelt, studious, carefully considered opinion is to the contrary of the law/order and in this specific instance - seriously divided split decision? Resign? Refuse? Both?

This is a tough one and as I have opined- it reminds me of another seriously flawed Supreme Court decision that led to the Civil War, that being Dred Scott. Battle lines are once again being drawn and sabers sharpened so to speak. Texas may very well have a preliminary secession vote on the ballot next Spring for example. Revolutions have happened over less. I don't believe this matter is settled yet and sure wish I had the "right answer" on this one. Putting her in jail is not helpful, the Judge may regret that decision in coming days.