Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made an attack on Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis and her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples during an address to the second annual Sacramento Court/Clergy Conference at Congregation B’nai Israel in Sacramento, California yesterday.
Said Oaks (start at 19:00 in the clip below):
“Office holders remain free to draw upon their personal beliefs and motivations and advocate their positions in the public square. But when acting as public officials they are not free to apply personal convictions — religious or other — in place of the defined responsibilities of their public offices. A county clerk’s recent invoking of religious reasons to justify refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples violates this principle.”
He also said that there should accommodation of religious officials:
“There should be no belligerence between religion and government. Governments and their laws can provide the essential protections for believers and religious organizations and their activities. Believers and religious organizations should recognize this and refrain from labeling governments and laws and officials as if they were inevitable enemies.”
Oaks speech called for an easing of the ‘culture wars’ between the religious and those seeking rights.
“We may have cultural differences, but we should not have ‘culture wars,'” said Oaks
“On the big issues … both sides should seek a balance, not a total victory. For example, religionists should not seek a veto over all non-discrimination laws that offend their religion, and the proponents of non-discrimination should not seek a veto over all assertions of religious freedom.”
Oaks comments infuriated Kim Davis’ attorney Mat Staver, who wrote an emailed statement to the AP essentially calling Oaks a sinner:
“Any attempt to punish a person for the exercise of conscience is sinful….Kim Davis has a right to represent her county as an elected official without violating her deeply held religious convictions,” Staver said. “Of all religious denominations the Mormon Church should understand the importance of protecting religious freedom. How sad the church officials have forgotten their history and the importance of protecting conscientious objectors.”