While Kim Davis doesn’t approve of opening the institution of marriage to same-sex couples, she admits she’s “failed so miserably” at marriage herself.
But in Davis’s opinion, that just shows God moves in mysterious ways. “How ironic that God would use a person like me, who failed so miserably at marriage in the world, to defend it now,” Davis told the Associated Press Tuesday. “The Lord picks the unlikely source to convey the message.”
Davis, the elected clerk of Rowan County, Ky., gained national prominence this year when she shut down marriage license operations in her office in order to avoid issuing licenses to same-sex couples after the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision. Four couples sued, a federal judge found Davis in contempt of court, and she spent five days in jail, becoming a heroine and a martyr in the eyes of the religious right.
“No one would ever have remembered a county clerk that just said ... ‘Even though I don’t agree with it, it’s OK. I’ll do it,’” Davis told the AP. “If I could be remembered for one thing, it’s that I was not afraid to not compromise myself.”
Her actions, of course, didn’t sit well with LGBT people and their allies. “It makes me uncomfortable to hear people using God … to justify their bigotry,” David Moore, one of the plaintiffs in the suit against Davis, told the news service. “I don’t see how that makes her a victim or a hero. She really just had a job to do, and she just needs to do her job.”
Some have also called Davis not just antigay but a hypocrite; she has been married four times, twice to the same man: her current husband, Joe Davis. She and her lead lawyer, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, have said she became a different person after converting to Apostolic Pentecostal Christianity a few years ago.
“She said she played in the devil’s playground for a long time, and her life has been radically changed since then,” Staver told CNN earlier this year.
The AP’s interview took place before Kentucky’s new governor, Matt Bevin, announced he was issuing an executive order to remove county clerks’ names from marriage licenses. That was something Davis and Staver had been seeking. “This is a wonderful Christmas gift for Kim Davis,” Staver said in a press release.
The American Civil Liberties Union is objecting to the governor’s action. “The requirement that the county clerk’s name appear on marriage licenses is prescribed by Kentucky law and is not subject to unilateral change by the governor,” said a statement from William Sharp, legal director of the ACLU of Kentucky.
Lawyers are also questioning the validity of the licenses issued by Davis and her deputies since she returned to work following her jail time in September, as she had removed her name from them. One of her deputies has been serving same-sex couples.
Davis’s term in office will end in two years, and she is undecided whether to run again, the AP story notes. “A lot of things could happen between now and them,” she said in the interview. The clerk, who recently switched her party affiliation from Democrat to Republican, also said she isn’t interested in trading on her newfound fame to run for higher office.
“If I were a politician, I would probably jump on that and grab it and growl,” she told the AP. “But I’m not a politician. I very much enjoy my job.”