By: Sathiyan Sivakumaran
As we read the news, we see a large number of events that have created strong and divisive opinions. In some cases, the argument is even worse than the passions ignited by the New York and Chicago pizza battles. One of the latest incidents that has garnered the attention of presidential candidates and the nation as a whole, was a Kentucky clerk named Kim Davis refusing to provide gay couples with marriage licenses.
While I see this as a very simple case, it is important to acknowledge the case of those supporting Kim Davis. In their eyes, she’s admirable for standing up against the tyranny of the United States Supreme Court, which told the nation that gays should be allowed to marry. She stood up for what she believed in through her religion, and she was persecuted for her religious beliefs when she was found in contempt of court and ordered to be jailed. She was released from jail after appealing the arrest, and although presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and many others supported her, I can say that the act of denying gay couples marriage licenses is wrong in so many ways that her religious freedom was not actually being persecuted.
There are so many freedoms that are in America, it’s hard to identify where the line is. There is the freedom to practice your religion without persecution for your beliefs, but there is also the new freedom to get married even if you are not just a man and a woman. If I have learned anything about freedom it is this: everyone should have equal rights and freedoms, as long as they are not imposing harm on others. Obviously, there will be exceptions to this, but the basic rule is that we shouldn’t be allowed to bar others from rights due to our personal beliefs.
Kim Davis broke the law by disobeying the Judge who told her she had to give gay couples marriage licenses. She not only refused giving them licenses, but she also did not allow the people who worked with her to offer the couples licenses. Other people’s rights were being infringed upon, she was breaking the law and her oath that she made to uphold the laws of the U.S., and she was correctly reprimanded by the judicial system. This should not be about conservative versus liberal or Republican versus Democrat. John Kasich, a Republican presidential candidate, mentions that Kim Davis should ‘follow the law’. If she wants to protest the right for gays to get married by writing letters to Congress and using picket signs, that is up to her. Using her religious beliefs as a cover to discriminate against a group of people and a justification for breaking the law, though? This is clearly not a right we have in America.