Kim Davis: Breaking Down the Controversy

by Michael Strickland

I was perusing Facebook this morning and came across a fascinating analysis of the Kim Davis case. Davis supporters ask if she should be granted reasonable accommodation for religious grounds. They are conflating sworn duties with reasonable accommodation to perform said duties.

I'm no lawyer, but from what I have read, accommodations apply to the extent that there is no adverse impact on the stated functions performed by an organization. If you cannot or will not complete the job, you should not be in it. A reasonable accommodation is when an organization does something like allow a Sikh to wear a ceremonial head dress when normally the dress code calls for no hats. A firefighter cannot refuse to fight fires, based on religious objection. This case sees an elected official refusing to perform her sworn duties. That is how this case is different.

The post below offers an excellent explanation of what happened to Kim Davis, and what she brought on herself.

So the saga continues. For those of you who are not very political or are not from our fair (usually) Commonwealth,...


Kimberly Jean Bailey Davis is a Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk who defied a U.S. Federal Courtorder requiring that she issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples following the Obergefell v. Hodges U.S. Supreme Courtcase that legalized same-sex marriage in the United States Davis filed an emergency application with the Supreme Court seeking to put the lower court's order on hold while she seeks an appeal. After the Supreme Court denied the application, Davis continued to deny the licenses, saying she was acting "under God's authority".

On September 3, 2015, she was jailed for contempt of court. Kentucky's attorney general is considering whether a special prosecutor should pursue potential charges of official misconduct against her.

Some have asked: What are the limits of objections for religious conscience?

The law says that the limit is an adverse effect on the function of the orgranization. The adverse affect here would be misrepresentation of services, damaging the county representation, and leaving them open to countless discrimination lawsuits that they would lose.

 Religious Discrimination & Reasonable Accommodation: The law requires an employer or other covered entity to reasonably accommodate an employee's religious beliefs or practices, unless doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on the operations of the employer's business. This means an employer may be required to make reasonable adjustments to the work environment that will allow an employee to practice his or her religion. Examples of some common religious accommodations include flexible scheduling, voluntary shift substitutions or swaps, job reassignments, and modifications to workplace policies or practices.

This case us far from over and yes, it will be theater. Rosa Parks had the moral leverage of sitting still and being arrested against a government law that excluded one group. It will be interesting to see if a government official can claim the moral high ground by doing a Rosa Parks in reverse.