Kim Davis’ anti-gay lawyer won’t say whether Christian clerks can refuse to issue divorce certificates
Mat Staver, the Christian radio host who is also representing Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, could not say on Friday whether “Christian conscience” could legally preclude someone in his client’s position from certifying interracial marriages or divorces.
“What’s the limiting principle on that conscious?” MSNBC host Chris Hayes asked Staver. “If she did not want to give marriage licenses to interracial couples, would that be OK?”
“You’ve got express constitutional amendments to that effect,” Staver replied. “The question here is whether there has been reasonable accomodation –”
“No no, I’m sorry, let’s just be clear here,” Hayes interjected, pointing out that it took the Loving v. Virginia ruling by the Supreme Court in 1967 to spell out the right to interracial marriages.
“The difference is, before and after the Supreme Court decision, marriage was always — and still remained — the union of a man and a woman,” Staver said. “There were express constitutional amendments against racial discrimination, and they injected race into the union between a man and a woman. It didn’t change the essence of marriage before or after Loving.”
“But that’s just defining away the question,” Hayes insisted. “If really, the issue here is, you say, it’s conscience, right? Then that sort of jurisprudence argument doesn’t seem to me to apply. The question is, what does her Christian conscience tell her? If someone’s Christian conscience did not allow them to for instance, issue divorce certificates — I mean, Jesus himself condemned divorce, let’s be clear — should they be able to do that?”
Staver, who has derided transgender people as “clownish” on his radio show, as well as argued that lifting a ban on gay Boy Scout troop leaders would invite “a Jerry Sandusky” to serve in the organization, did not answer the question, instead saying that same-sex marriage was not legal when Davis ran for office.
“Mr. Staver,” Hayes said after Staver repeated himself. “No-fault divorce is perhaps the most radical change to marriage that has happened in centuries. And there were many people, including the pope, who said so when it was introduced, OK?”
Staver continued ducking the question, instead saying that the only thing his client was asking for was to remove her name and authority from any license concerning same-sex couples.
“She can file it, she can issue it,” he said. “That’s a simple accommodation, and that’s very easy to do.”
Davis is currently in jail after being found in contempt of court for refusing the orders of both a federal court and the high court to issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples in Rowan County.
Watch the interview, as aired on MSNBC on Friday, below.