Much controversy surrounds Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis’ case. While some people believe Davis should be harshly punished for denying couples marriage licenses, others staunchly support her actions. Opinions aside, the primary issue at hand is whether or not Kim Davis’ denial of marriage licenses is legal. The answer to that question is determined by whether or not states’ rights supersede federal law or vice versa.
In November 2004, seventy five percent of Kentucky voters cast their ballots against same sex marriage that created Kentucky Constitutional Amendment 1. Amendment 1 declares:
“Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”
Voters elect senators and representatives at both state and federal levels to make laws to govern citizens. Meanwhile, Supreme Court justices are appointed and are tasked with ruling whether or not a case is legal. Clearly, Davis acted within Kentucky’s state constitution, which declares same-sex marriage illegal.
That presents the issues of states’ rights as well as the separation of powers. Given the facts, Davis’ case becomes more complicated because as a county clerk, she is not a federal employee. That said, must she abide by her state’s law or the Supreme Court’s ruling? After all, laws are written and voted on by the legislative branch.
The United States Supreme Court is part of the judicial branch, and its purpose wasn’t created to make laws as it seems to have done regarding same-sex marriage. The United States government operates under three branches of government, judicial, legislative, and executive. Separation of powers was established in the U.S. Constitution in 1787 to serve as a system of checks and balances and prevent tyranny.
On Tuesday outside Carter County Correctional Facility, TPNN News Director Scottie Nell Hughes interviewed presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz to get their input on the legality of Kim Davis being jailed. She also briefly interviewed a few of the rally’s attendees to learn their opinions.
~ Jennifer Wilcox, Contributor