Conservative Pundits Invoke Civil Rights Icons To Defend Anti-LGBT County Clerk Kim Davis

Several right-wing pundits are invoking the Civil Rights movement as they rally to the defense of Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, whose refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite a federal court order resulted in her being arrested and held in contempt.

Conservative Pundits Compare Kim Davis' Anti-LGBT Battle To The Civil Rights Movement

Fox's Erick Erickson Predicts Civil War: “We Have Moved Beyond A Nation Of Laws.” In a September 4 op-ed published by IJReview, Fox News contributor Erick Erickson defended Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis' refusal to issue marriage licenses, and attacked the United States Supreme Court for ruling in favor of marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples. Erickson lamented that America had “moved beyond a nation of laws” in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision and wondered “how much longer until we have another civil war?”:

When all these things happen, we have moved beyond a nation of laws to a nation of men. When we have a nation of men, power is everything, policy is fleeting, and laws are meaningless. People with enough money can get preferential treatment. The more powerful a person is, the more he can escape punishment. Eventually, some men can decide to grab power by any means necessary and, without laws that can withstand the sway of men, get a pass at unconstitutional means used to grab power. The constitution becomes a worthless relic.

At that point, the citizens will clash beyond the ballot box. We see that beginning with random killings of police and random killings by police. It will only get worse. No one should want it and no one, myself included, does want it. But how much longer until we have another civil war?

Our nation's leaders have excelled at nothing so much as dividing and pitting American against American. When the President of the United States tells supporters that Republicans are the enemy and they should take guns to knife fights, we should not be surprised when they take him seriously. Besides, who will punish them? They perceive themselves to be on the winning team.

How much longer before the cold war of citizenry fed and flamed by Washington turns hot? [Media Matters, 9/4/15]

Right-Wing Radio Host Steve Deace Compares Davis To Rosa Parks. On September 2, conservative Iowa radio host Steve Deace tweeted a comparison between civil rights icon Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus, and Kim Davis' refusal to issue marriage licenses:

Steve Deace Thinks Kim Davis Is The New Rosa Parks

[Media Matters, 9/3/15]

Fox's Todd Starnes: The Judge Who Ordered Davis To Jail Did “With The Gavel What Bull Connor Tried To Do With Dogs And Fire Hoses.” In a September 4 op-ed, Fox News radio host Todd Starnes compared Federal Judge David Bunning, who held Davis in contempt, to the infamously racist Birmingham, Alabama Commissioner of Public Safety Bull Connor. Starnes wrote that “the fight for religious liberty [is] the civil rights issue of our generation,” and that the judge's “act of judicial tyranny... sets a standard for what could become an all-out assault on people of faith”:

It happened in the Commonwealth of Kentucky where Judge David Bunning ordered U.S. Marshalls to arrest Kim Davis -- the clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky.

Mrs. Davis is a devout Christian who refused to issue gay marriage licenses. She claimed that doing so would violate her religious beliefs. 

Davis is represented by the public interest law firm Liberty Counsel. The firm's attorneys asked the court to accommodate her beliefs by simply removing her name from the licenses.

But Judge Bunning refused to do so. He refused to accommodate her religious beliefs -- and ordered U.S. Marshals to take her into custody. 

I truly believe Judge Bunning wanted to intimidate Christians and send a very clear message - that resistance to same-sex marriage will not be tolerated -- doing with the gavel what Bull Connor tried to do with dogs and fire hoses.


Judge Bunning's act of judicial tyranny troubles me because it sets a standard for what could become an all-out assault on people of faith. [, 9/4/15]

Davis Is Being Held In Contempt For Refusing To Do Her Job As County Clerk

NY Times: Kim Davis “Was Ordered Detained For Contempt Of Court” After Rejecting Other Options. According to a September 3 report by The New York Times, Davis was taken into custody “for defying a court order to issue [marriage] licenses to gay couples” only after she had also rejected a proposal to allow her subordinates to process the licenses on her behalf, which would have resulted in no jail time:

A Kentucky county clerk who has become a symbol of religious opposition to same-sex marriage  was jailed Thursday after defying a federal court order to issue licenses to gay couples.

The clerk, Kim Davis of Rowan County, Ky., was ordered detained for contempt of court and later rejected a proposal to allow her deputies to process same-sex marriage licenses that could have prompted her release.


“The court cannot condone the willful disobedience of its lawfully issued order,” Judge Bunning said. “If you give people the opportunity to choose which orders they follow, that's what potentially causes problems.” [The New York Times9/3/15]

Wash. Post: Judge Bunning Is A Republican Appointed By President George W. Bush. According to a September 4 report by The Washington Post, the judge who issued the contempt ruling, David L. Bunning, is a Republican appointed to the federal bench by George W. Bush:

After hearing both sides inside a federal courtroom in Ashland, Ky., the 49-year-old judge made his decision: The devout Catholic and son of former U.S. senator and Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning became the first U.S. judge to issue a jail sentence to enforce the Supreme Court's ruling that made gay marriage legal across the country.

Bunning's decision Thursday came at a pivotal juncture in the gay marriage debate that has divided the country along starkly partisan lines. But notably, it has been the decisions of a Republican judge appointed by a Republican president, George W. Bush, in a conservative state that have halted the latest effort to use religious freedom objections to the ruling.

“Personal opinions, including my own, are not relevant to today,” Bunning, a federal district judge, told Davis and the courtroom Thursday. “The idea of natural law superseding this court's authority would be a dangerous precedent indeed.” [The Washington Post9/4/15]