OpEd: Make Kim Davis volunteer with LGBTQ groups
Recently, Kim Davis was sent to jail for refusing to issue marriage certificates to couples in the State of Kentucky in protest of the Supreme Court ruling deeming same-sex marriage constitutional. While Davis did break a law, that does not mean that we should be so quick to throw an orange jumpsuit on the perpetrator. Incarceration should not be the immediate response, instead accountability and education should be at the center of disciplinary action.
OpEd submitted by Tyler Keylon
During her relatively short stint in jail, Davis was reported to have only read the Holy Bible. This makes sense, as our correctional facilities don’t typically provide a library of rehabilitative resources relevant to crimes – in this case, literature on the history of LGBT people in the United States and their relationship with the State. Davis didn’t receive counseling or diversity training in jail, helping her to better understand how her misguided hatred of the LGBT community put her in her cell. So what is really happening while the insubordinate clerk is sitting in jail?
The frothing-at-the mouth fascist fringes of the GOP (led by former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee), are positioning Davis into a symbol of resistance against the so-called War on Faith and Christianity. By placing Davis in a way which politically distances herself from the ever-changing melting pot we call society, the LGBT community is furious that their rights are continually being infringed upon by our elected traditional-valued officials and even our fellow democrats
I propose that alternative measures be taken to hold Davis accountable for her lawless actions as Clerk, ensuring that justice is truly served. Instead of incarcerating her for not following the law as directed by the Supreme Court, we should actively seek punishment alternatives that will promote rehabilitation.
It is clear that incarceration has not fixed a thing, but instead has created a media fiasco that the more right wing radical candidates in the 2016 Presidential Race will use to their advantage, hoping to gain more attention and ultimately more votes later on..
It is clear that Davis must be impeached from her position, because of her inability to perform the duties that she promised to fulfill when she was elected to office. If Davis is not held fully accountable and she is allowed to stay in her current position, it will highlight another failure by the State to hold discriminatory individuals accountable for their actions stemming from personal prejudiced beliefs and values.
After being impeached, I would argue that Davis should perform community service, preferably at a local shelter catering to the homeless LGBT population. I believe that by being up close and personal with the face of poverty specific to LGBT, this will remind Kim Davis of the real social consequences of discrimination against those in the LGBT communities. Marriage inequality in the eyes of the Law have arguably led to the homelessness that the LGBT community faces today, therefore it is important for those serving the public to be well-educated, dispassionate, reasoned and comfortable in working with the so-called “undesirable” aspects of our society.
Working with LGBT-friendly social service organizations can be a reminder to Davis and fellow anti-equality supporters that marital discrimination is a slippery slope that can easily lead to a domino effect of social and cultural degradation. Rather than continuously contributing to the marginalization of the LGBT community, Davis and fellow discriminatory supporters will instead be given the opportunity to provide a helping hand to those in need.
This is not forcing an individual to change their thoughts and beliefs, but actually to help educate the masses about concepts of change while reminding individuals that they are not the only person that exists in this world. What is being suggested is a new method of holding lawbreakers accountable for their actions without the use of jails and prisons. It is time that we recognize the failures of the United States Criminal Justice System while simultaneously introducing new methods of governing the governed. Classical forms of discipline and punishment are clearly not remedying the persistent problems with prejudice and discrimination, therefore there is no reason that these conversations shouldn’t be had in our social and cultural circles.
The amount of tax dollars that are funneled into our failing Criminal Justice System can be rerouted into social services that cater to communities in need throughout the United States. Hatred is not a crime, but a feeling that should be seen as a social problem to be discussed and worked through. Incarceration is not an accurate method of rehabilitation, and there is no reason that an individual with passionate beliefs should be jailed.
The right wing has blown the entire situation out of proportion in the name of their own agenda – the Davis charade was merely a media circus to attain votes and maybe squeeze some extra dollars out of the public through a pity Kickstarter campaign. Together we can work hand-in-hand to ensure the acceptance and recognition of all communities through these alternative measures of rehabilitation, or else we will continue to see Davis’ around the globe exercising their powers in oppressive ways.
(For the record, Cruz has been endorsed by the National Organization for Marriage, which should settle the question of his credentials.)January 4, 2016
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