The issue over whether a county clerk in a particular state has the authority to deny marriage licenses to gay couples brings up the time-honored debate over states’ rights.
Rowan County (Ky.) Clerk Kim Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses because she opposes — on religious grounds — sanctioning same-sex marriages.
A federal judge found her in contempt of court and threw her into a jail. Davis is appealing her incarceration to the Kentucky governor.
Does the state have the right to deny a marriage license to a gay couple? Here’s my view on it.
The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law to all citizens. The U.S. Constitution is the governing framework for the federal government. The Constitution, therefore, is the pre-eminent law of the land.
The U.S. Supreme Court this year ruled, thus, that same-sex marriage is a protected right under the Constitution. Therefore, states must follow the law as prescribed in that document.
So, when someone takes an oath to “uphold the Constitution,” he or she is bound by that oath to perform the duties of his or her office.
The federal law, in this instance, trumps state law.