Kentucky governor Matt Bevin claims anti-gay clerk Kim Davis is an ‘inspiration to children’

Kentucky governor Matt Bevin has claimed that anti-gay clerk Kim Davis an “inspiration” to children across America.

Kim Davis made the news in 2015 after the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry.

The clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky, decided to ignore the ruling and subsequent orders from state courts in order to block the weddings of same-sex couples, claiming she was simply acting in accordance with her religious beliefs.

Davis, who was briefly jailed for contempt of court, has since become a cause célèbre among the anti-LGBT movement, and recently headed to Romania to support proposals for an anti-gay marriage law.

But the Republican Governor of Kentucky, Matt Bevin, is a massive fan of her work.

Mr Bevin lavished praise on Ms Davis as he helped promote her upcoming memoir, which has two ghostwriters.

He claimed that Davis would be remembered for “her boldness and conviction” in “knowing that she was right.”

According to Right Wing Watch, Bevin claimed: “Against all the scorn, all the enmity, all the vitriol, all the nastiness, she stood firm.

“I think Kim Davis is without question an inspiration, not only to leaders like myself—people in the public arena and those outside the public arena—but to my children, the children of America.

“People, even if they disagree with her, have got to respect the fact that here is a woman who was willing to put it all on the line out of conviction for what she believed and knew to be her right as an American citizen.

“Her faith and her conviction in the fact that that faith was protected by the First Amendment in our Constitution – in our Bill of Rights, specifically – is something that she was willing to put front and center, and if that’s not admirable, if that’s not something we would want all Americans to emulate, I don’t know what is.”

Davis recently travelled to Romania with the Liberty Counsel, a right-wing Christian law group defined as an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre.

The clerk held anti-gay rallies across the country and met with high-ranking officials in the Orthodox Church, which preaches the total rejection of gay people.

Davis cited her time in prison as a “warning” that proves Romania should reject LGBT rights reforms, or else face the return of communist-style restrictions and attacks on religion.

She was accompanied by Harry Mihet, vice president of legal affairs for the Liberty Counsel hate group.

Mihet, who was born in Romania, said: “I am so glad for this amazing opportunity to finally introduce Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis personally to my Romanian people.”

“Her story resonates loudly with them, and they are receiving her tearfully and very warmly, because they can still remember the not-so-long-ago days when they were themselves persecuted and imprisoned for their conscience,” he continued.

“The freedom of conscience transcends national, cultural, religious and denominational lines, and Romanians are determined to prevent such injustice from ever happening again in their country.”

Despite insisting that following the law and allowing same-sex couples to marry goes against her evangelical beliefs, Davis is on her fourth marriage, with three divorces under her belt.

We can think of nothing that would inspire children more.

Bevin previously changed the law of Kentucky to help out Davis, ending her legal troubles when he removed the requirement for clerks to issue marriage licenses from state law.

He has also signed a law to permit anti-LGBT discrimination in education.

Governor Matt Bevin signed SB 17 – a measure that allows student groups at colleges, universities, and high schools to discriminate against LGBTQ students.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, SB 17 undermines inclusive “all comers” policies at public colleges, universities and high schools, by allowing student organizations to discriminate against LGBT students under the guise of religion.

Many public colleges and universities have long had “all-comers” policies that require student organizations receiving financial and other support from the institution not to discriminate against students based on race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. These policies are important because they allow all members of the student body to participate in students groups and prevent such groups from discriminating against students with state funding.

The law states: “[Education bodies] should ensure that… no recognized religious or political student organization is hindered or discriminated against in the ordering of its internal affairs, selection of leaders and members, defining of doctrines and principles, and resolving of organizational disputes in the furtherance of its mission, or in its determination that only persons committed to its mission should conduct these activities.”

As well as undermining the rights protections, SB 17 also potentially protects students who espouse homophobic religious viewpoints in school.

The law specifically protects students who “voluntarily express religious or political viewpoints…. in classroom, homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments” and enshrines students’ right to “distribute religious or political literature in a public school”.

HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said at the time: “Governor Bevin’s shameful decision to sign this discriminatory bill into law jeopardizes non-discrimination policies at public high schools, colleges, and universities.

“No student should fear being excluded from a school club or participating in a school activity because they are LGBTQ.

“While of course private groups should have the freedom to express religious viewpoints, they should not be able to unfairly discriminate with taxpayer funds.”