Michelangelo Signorile believes that while Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis will surely lose her battle, that loss will be a win for the GOP’s “religious liberty” crazies. He writes:
If the Supreme Court denies Kim Davis’s stay the ball is back in a federal judge’s court. Because she is an elected official, only the legislature can remove her in an impeachment, which no one expects to happen. But Daniel J. Canon, one of the attorneys for the couples who filed suit to get their marriage licenses, told me that “she could be removed if she were criminally prosecuted for something,” which would mean the judge finding her in contempt of his order and possibly even sending her to jail (as unlikely as that might be). That is exactly what Davis — and the Republican Party — would relish. At the rally over the weekend, Matt Bevin, a Republican running for the Kentucky governorship, cheered the crowd on, telling them that “religious liberties are being oppressed,” and clearly seeing the issue as a great one for his campaign.
And that is true of the GOP presidential candidates, desperate to find issues to galvanize religious conservatives. “Religious liberty” is a term Jeb Bush has invoked several times in the context of gay rights, and Ted Cruz has been stoking the issue for months, claiming Christians are under attack. As I’ve written in weeks past, it’s clear that the issue is being carefully developed by GOP leaders in Congress as a campaign issue to energize evangelical voters. A bill introduced by Republicans in the House and the Senate earlier in the year, the First Amendment Defense Act, proposes, among other things, to exempt people like Kim Davis from issuing marriage licenses if it conflicts with their religious beliefs. Davis will lose her battle in coming days. But GOP leaders in Washington and across the country, heading into a political campaign, will take that as a win.
As we know, the criminal prosecution of Davis began just last night.