Elected officials must comply with law despite personal beliefs

When you enlist in the military, you take an oath. When you run for mayor or city council, you take an oath. When you are elected to county, state or federal office, you also take an oath.

According to Section 228 of the Kentucky Constitution, elected officials, “before they enter upon the practice of their profession, shall take the following oath or affirmation:

“ ‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United State and the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and be faithful and true to the Commonwealth of Kentucky so long as I continue a citizen thereof, and that I will faithfully execute, to the best of my ability, the office of … according to law;’ ”

Where you run into a gray area here is that section 30A.020 regarding the oath of clerk and deputies also states, “according to the best of my skill and judgment.” However, as we have seen in many cases over the years, federal law will override the state law.

In the last few weeks, we have been introduced to Kim Davis. Davis is the elected Rowan County, Ky., clerk. Upon the Supreme Court handing down the ruling that same-sex couples may marry, she absolutely refused to do her job, stating religious beliefs would not permit her to issue marriage licenses.

Subsequently, Davis was found guilty of contempt by a U.S. district judge. She was jailed “until she complied with his order to issue the licenses.” Davis spent five days in jail before the judge said she could be released; however, she may not interfere with her deputy clerks issuing the licenses.

I realize we are a nation where religious beliefs come into play in many areas of life. Your opinion on same-sex marriage is your right to have, and you have the right under our Constitution to voice your opinion. However, to me, when you are an elected official and have taken an oath to discharge the duties of your office under the law, you may have to rethink where you are.

A great thing about our country is if you don’t like a law, you have the ability to assemble and petition the government. If you don’t like something, talk to your congressmen or representatives. However, in my opinion, an elected official simply refusing to do her job is unacceptable.