Ms. Davis tearfully testified that she had not hesitated to stand by her religious views and defy the courts. “I didn’t have to think about it,” she said. “There was no choice there....A high-rated comment at the link (which goes to the NYT):
“Marriage is between one man and one woman,” she replied, before a lawyer asked her whether she had “the ability to believe marriage is anything else.” Ms. Davis offered a terse response: “No.”...
Judge Bunning... said Ms. Davis’s explanation for disobeying his order was “simply insufficient." “It’s not physically impossible for her to issue the licenses,” he said. “She’s choosing not to.”
I am an Orthodox Jew. I can't eat milk and meat together as per my own personal beliefs. But if I were a county clerk, and someone wanted to open up a cheeseburger joint, I'd have absolutely zero right as a government official to deny that person his permit on the grounds of the rules of my religion.The answer to that, in the terms that Judge Bunning found "simply insufficient," would be that the Orthodox Jewish county clerk would not lack the mental capacity to conceive of a cheeseburger joint as a business requiring a permit. It would just be a business he would not patronize and perhaps disapprove of. Davis was arguing a lack of an "ability to believe" that marriage is anything other than the union of a man and a woman. I do agree with the judge that the argument is insufficient. As a government official, she's obligate to treat same-sex marriages the same as opposite as marriages, whether she privately thinks of them as marriages or not. No one is requiring her to believe something she doesn't believe. She's simply required, as a government official, not to violate the rights of citizens.