UPDATE: Shortly after this article was published, Kim Davis was found to be in contempt of court by a federal judge and taken into custody. On Sept. 8, U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered Davis’ release from jail, saying her deputies had complied with his order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Kentucky’s Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis talked to Decision magazine on September 2. A more comprehensive story will appear in the October edition of the magazine.
No amount of threats against her life or her job, no edicts from the U.S. Supreme Court or the governor, could sway Kim Davis to compromise God’s truth.
She is so overwhelmed by His grace, so captivated by His love, so surrendered to His will that she can’t fathom caving to the ways and pressures of this world—regardless of the consequences.
“I cannot be separated from what I believe,” she said. “I have to love the Lord with my whole heart, mind, body and soul—with every ounce of strength and might that I have in me. It’s every breath we take and every beat of our heart.”
Davis, the Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk of court, has been at the center of a national firestorm in recent months over her refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses even though she received court orders to do so.
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Her voice cracked and she wept at times during an interview this week with Decision as she discussed her willingness to face dire consequences if necessary in order to remain faithful to her Lord, which could also include being impeached from office and being arrested.
“I have weighed the cost,” she said. “It’s definitely no place that I thought I would ever find myself, and it is definitely out of my comfort zone. I’m a very private person. For this to be everywhere [in the news] is just overwhelming at times.
“But it is through God and His grace and strength that I stand, that I can have a smile on my face.”
Because of the Bible’s clear teaching that marriage is the sacred union of one man and one woman, Davis prayerfully decided that she could not permit issuance to gay and lesbian couples since the licenses would bear her name.
“Those licenses leave my office through my authority,” she said. “I cannot be party to that. I just can’t. … If the Word of God isn’t worth fighting for, I don’t know anything that is.”
Her attorney, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, has asked the courts and Gov. Steve Beshear to change licensing procedures to accommodate Davis’ convictions and those of others with similar beliefs. Staver suggested several options, including removing the clerk’s name from all marriage licenses, making the state capitol the processing center for licenses and switching to an online application process.
Davis also tried to take pre-emptive measures to avoid the predicament immediately after taking office as clerk in January, writing state legislators in anticipation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage in June.
“I urged and beseeched them to get legislation on the floor while we still had time to protect clerks who had religions objections to same-sex marriage,” she said. “I got only one response, and nothing happened.”
Some critics have suggested that Davis should resign her elected position, but she has no intention of doing so, partly because she ran for the office last year after 27 years as deputy clerk only because she sensed the Lord calling her to do so.
Her deep devotion to Christ is rooted in the love and grace she received at her conversion more than four years ago, which she said followed years of “living in a pit of sin that I had created with my very own hands.”
She was divorced three times and gave birth to twins conceived out of wedlock.
Her life changed in 2011 when she attended a Sunday evening church service in honor of her mother-in-law, who had died that morning.
“The pastor preached out of Galatians, and it really stirred my heart,” Davis said. “I repented right there on the altar, just fell on my knees and face and cried.”
Davis now prays regularly for the salvation and protection of the same-sex couples who have assailed her and says she believes there is eternal significance in remaining firm in her stance.
“For me, this is a Heaven or Hell issue because [of] someone else who maybe doesn’t know the Lord and is still searching,” she said. “This is real, and this is true.”
Though she has been under intense attack and pressure, she claims a peace and trust in God that surpasses human understanding.
“We serve a living God who is alive and on the throne,” she said. “He knows exactly where I am, and I know that His hand is upon me and upon His people. He is in full control.”
Franklin Graham is coming to all 50 states in 2016 to encouraged Christians to live out their faith. Find out more about the Decision America Tour with Franklin Graham.