Mat Staver is the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. Mat is a constitutional attorney with three landmark cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He’s an author and the host of the radio broadcasts Faith & Freedom and Freedom’s Call.
On June 26th, 2015, in a case known as Obegefell v. Hodges, a majority of the Supreme Court released their decision that they found a right to same-sex marriage in the U.S. Constitution.
There have been many that have stood up to say that they will not be forced into acting against their religious convictions, and such has been the case with bakers, florists and website designers and yes, even a county clerk.
This Crosstalk reviews the timeline involving Kim Davis, who although now retired, was the elected (in 2014) clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky. She worked with then Governor Steven Beshear to try and obtain religious accommodation in the event that the U.S. Supreme Court would go the wrong way on the same-sex marriage issue which they did in 2015.
The governor denied her request, in spite of the fact that he gave his attorney general accommodation to not defend the state constitution amendment that said marriage is the union of a man and a woman. In other words, the governor gave his attorney general the ability to not defend man/woman marriage for conscience reasons yet he wouldn’t allow Kim to opt out of having her name, title and authority on a marriage license that conflicts with God’s design for marriage.
When the decision came down from the Supreme Court, Kim decided not to issue any marriage licenses until her accommodation request and the legislature came in to resolve the issue. This is when David Ermold and David Moore, who were not planning on getting married, went to the clerks office to intimidate and videotape her. They put it on social media and the situation went viral.
Eventually they tried to obtain a marriage license from Kim and they were denied. The ACLU filed suit and eventually Kim spent 6 days in federal prison. Liberty Counsel was able to obtain religious accommodation for Kim after Republican Governor Matt Bevin was elected.
Mat was in court last week as Kim was being targeted by those who want financial damages and attorney fees. There are two sets of plaintiffs in the case and last week the judge had already issued a ruling saying that Kim would be personally liable. So the case was sent to trial on the issue of damages. One set of plaintiffs received zero dollars while the other received $100,000 ($50,000 each).
Next for Mat is to take the case to the court of appeals where he will argue two things. One is religious freedom throughout the U.S., freedom that should have been granted from the start when Kim asked for accommodation. The other is that the underlying case of Obergefell (where 3 of the original justices are no longer on the bench) ought to be overturned because Mat believes it had no basis in the law. In the end, Kim’s case could overturn Obergefell just like the Dobbs case overturned Roe v. Wade.