Christopher Jimenez-CherryEquality Wiregrass

There is a celebration in Rowan County Kentucky, and the community is receiving eight newly married couples. Yet the fight continues to stop same-sex marriage. What concerns us, is the attempt by Liberty Counsel, and Matthew Staver to Martyr Mrs. Davis, and other probate clerks like her.

Liberty Counsel, a right-wing group of lawyers whose sole aim is anti-gay litigation, and defamation, provides free legal assistance in defense of “Christian religious liberty, the sanctity of human life, and the traditional family.” They are responsible for a series of laughable hi jinx in support of what they view as Christian values. For instance, in 2000 Liberty Counsel threatened legal action against a public library for awarding a “Hogwarts’ Certificate of Accomplishment” to young students who read J. K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in its entirety. Staver said that “witchcraft is a religion, and the certificate of witchcraft endorsed a particular religion in violation of the First Amendment establishment clause.” Liberty Counsel doesn’t just attack children’s books though. Staver has publicly defamed the LGBT community, describing the now gay-tolerant boy scouts as a “playground for pedophiles” and likened the supreme court’s decision to the holocaust as turning over Jews to the Nazi’s, and that’s not all.

They Support Conversion Therapy.

“Last week I had the opportunity to submit a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court and to testify before Congress regarding the attacks on religious freedom of licensed mental health professionals, minors, and their parents.” Mr. Staver said addressing Congress, “Homosexual activists have attempted to enact laws throughout the country that would silence mental health professionals from expressing the truth that an individual can successfully reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attractions behavior or identity. These efforts are nothing more than an attempt to censure any viewpoint concerning scriptural teaching on human sexuality. They represent one of the greatest assaults on children and families that has risen in recent times.”

Liberty Counsel’s public accusations read like a bad conspiracy theory book, most likely because Liberty Counsel is attempting to find controversy and persecution in a society that already accepts, and protects Christians and their beliefs.  Matthew Staver is the founder of Liberty Counsel, which has ties to Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, and this is who is representing Kim Davis.

Liberty Counsel is, not surprisingly, a ministry and a non-profit. Staver has used this case to raise funds for the group, and boost publicity for Liberty Counsel and himself. Liberty Counsel held a Rally in August to “support” Kim Davis. The recent “I’m With Kim” rally drew a whopping 300 People and featured Joshua Feurstein, who threatened to fight against gay rights with firearms. 

Despite the rallying, the protesting, the radio broadcasts, the news, the litigation, the cries of outrage from the fringe right; 8 Couples, 6 Same-Sex were legally married. The Majority of Americans do in fact support human rights.

A Platform for Liberty?

“Here’s two things I know: She’s not going to resign and she’s not going to violate her conscience,” Mr. Staver said at a news conference. “So, however long that lasts, in terms of the consequences, she is prepared to accept them.”

This and other statements frame this struggle in terms of Kim Davis’ right to religious freedom, her objections, her welfare.

Davis is no longer part of the marriage debate, yet Liberty Counsel has not limited their outcry to matters of Davis’ release. Liberty Counsel has continued to attempt to block marriages. It would seem, that the central goal is not to protect Kim Davis’ right to object. The aim is, and always has been, to keep loving same-sex couples from the same rights enjoyed by all differently-sexed couples.

“They are not worth the paper they’re written on,” Staver said of Marriage Licenses in Rowan County.

If the real concern is to support Kim Davis’ religious freedom, why is the effort to block gay marriage continuing.

Staver insists that the marriage licenses issued are invalid, issued without Davis’ authority. The state of Kentucky and their attorney’s agree that the licenses are valid, but as extra protection there is talk of creating a law that county clerks do not have to sign marriage certificates; effectively ending the block of legal marriages by bigoted clerks who misinterpret the constitution’s freedom of religion to read, “Freedom to impose my religion on others in legal matters.” There is more to this battle socially, Kim Davis is being propped up as a martyr for her cause, a victim of the “homosexual activists agenda”.

Liberty Counsel Released a Statement:

“Last night Kim Davis was incarcerated in a jail cell while the rest of us slept in our comfortable beds. While it is not new that some people are imprisoned, it is stunning to realize Kim is there because of her faith in God and her convictions about marriage.

“Not long ago 75 percent of Kentuckians passed the state’s marriage amendment. Today a Christian is imprisoned for believing what the voters affirmed: marriage is between a man and a woman. Five people on the Supreme Court imposed their will on 320 million Americans and unleashed a torrent of assaults against people of faith. Kim Davis is the first victim of this tragedy.”

A “Martyr” for the Anti-Gay Fringe

Liberty Counsel is working hard to keep same-sex couples in their place with a variety of attacks. Showing concern for Davis’ rights on one channel, and defaming the LGBT Community on the other. It is a shame that well meaning, God fearing people will be ensnared by these statements, believing that homosexual activists are preparing to gather up christians and stand them against the wall. That in some way, acceptance, and tolerance of others can be turned into persecution. This fight isn’t about persecuting christians, it’s about ending the persecution of LGBT’s at home, and abroad. It’s about acceptance, and love, and humanity.

LGBT’s have withstood thousands of years of persecution worldwide at the hands of those with power, and in relative silence. Then at a festive, some would say gay, club in New York named Stonewall we refused to silently submit. We rebelled, and ignited a movement to come out, out of the shadows, out of the closet. Since that day, we have seen far too many martyrs, tens of thousands dying of HIV-AIDS to complete silence, a reticent presidency refusing to address the issue. Every day somewhere in America a circle of bullies surrounds an effeminate boy on a playground, or in a locker room. Every day a Lesbian youth is driven from her home and church, to the streets. Every day a transgendered man or woman is scowled at in a bathroom, or jeered at on the street, or simply beaten or murdered in an alley for being different. Young men murdered and tied to fences, children committing suicide, verbal, mental, and physical abuse; all because of who we love.

The New Majority

So, Kim Davis is being propped up as a martyr, and there is reason to consider that a victory.  It wasn’t very long ago that statements like “The vast majority of American’s believe in the sanctity of marriage as between one man, and one woman.” were bandied around from town hall to capital hill. Seeing the opinion of Americans move toward inclusion always warms the heart of advocates for human rights. It feels like a victory that there could even be a martyr on the anti-gay side of this issue.

We have so many.

Same-sex advocates did not just go to jail for their convictions, although many have. They were beaten, bullied, tortured, murdered, and driven into the shadows since time immemorial. If we were to hold to the old testament, as a good fundamentalist might, we should exact “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”

But we won’t.

We aren’t trying to make a new world, we are trying to be accepted into this one, and it appears that day has finally come. The majority of Americans now believe LGBT’s have a right to exist in peace and harmony, with equal rights, alongside those that disagree with the way we love. We are kinder as a majority, we won’t be holding any witch hunts, persecuting Christians, or religious faith, bullying Christian children in locker rooms; and many of us are, in fact, good Christians. This movement doesn’t need any more martyrs, suffering, or pain. We are finished with martyrs, we’ve had enough of them. The LGBT community and their allies are “turning the other cheek”.