Kim Davis, the Democrat Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses because of religious objections, was ordered to jail for contempt of court last Thursday. She suggested a compromise of removing her name from the licenses, but Federal District Court Judge David Bunning wouldn’t even grant that reasonable compromise.
Contrast this with Cathy Lanier, chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia, refusing to issue concealed weapons permits to people unless they can arbitrarily show a “good reason,” nothing required by law. A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction in May stopping her from denying the permits, although notably he did not send Lanier to jail for contempt.
Similarly, county sheriffs in California had been denying concealed weapons permits to applicants who failed to show a need beyond self-defense. Last November, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the sheriffs were violating the law. None of those sheriffs were sent to jail, despite the fact that people around the country have died unable to obtain a permit to carry concealed.
Or contrast it with the irony of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom ordering clerks to issue same-sex marriage licenses in 2004, contrary to state law. The California Attorney General sued him and the California Supreme Court ultimately put an end to the practice, but Newsom was never sent to jail.
Newsom also violated federal law by making San Francisco a sanctuary city in 2007, contrary to existing federal law, but nothing happened to him. The city’s sanctuary status resulted in the death of Kate Steinle in July, who was shot by an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times and had seven felony convictions. This is a far more drastic result than a clerk who merely does not want her name on marriage licenses, yet nothing is being done to the current mayor of San Francisco, Ed Lee.