Why Kim Davis Should Not Be the Poster Child for Morehead, Kentucky Beliefs

I was born and raised in Morehead, Kentucky, and I earned my first college degree from Morehead State University. My parents and many of my closest friends still live there today, and it is my home.

Most people had never heard of my hometown before Rowan County Clerk, Kim Davis, defied the U.S Government and refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, so it's understandable why the national media is having such an easy time misrepresenting the residents of this small town.

Since there seems to be much confusion, I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight:

  1. No. We are not all religious extremists who dress like extras from an episode of The Beverly Hillbillies, despite what you may see in the media. Some women wear long skirts and hairstyles for religious reasons but, for the most part, we wear the same mainstream clothes as you do. When we do wear overalls, we are probably doing something worthwhile like farming or gardening, not holding a national press conference.

  • Many of us firmly believe in the separation of church and state and support the decisions of the Supreme Court, even if it doesn't always align with our personal beliefs. Some of us even hold law degrees and have actually read and understood The Constitution.
  • While there are many people here who maintain that The Bible tells us that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, there are also plenty of God-loving Christians and Jews, Atheists, Agnostics, and Pagans, who celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage and whole-heartedly support equality for all people.
  • We have a heck of a lot more to offer than the national media is giving us credit for, and it's really a shame that one voice, the voice the religious right, has been chosen to define what we are as a community.
  • Indeed, the conservative religious culture has a great deal to do with our current political mess, and during my 22 years in Morehead, I witnessed plenty of closed-minded, ignorant behavior. But Morehead is also home to a thriving theatre community, amazing bluegrass musicians, talented local artists, and tons of absolutely brilliant, kind people who live there not for religious reasons, but for their profound connection to the land and Appalachian culture. I refuse to sit by and watch the craftsmen, artists and teachers who helped me make my way in the world be ridiculed and shamed.

    If there is a lesson to be learned from Kim Davis, it is that this situation could happen anywhere where an elected official allows their personal beliefs to cloud civic duty. Perhaps instead of bashing Morehead, the media could use this as an opportunity to educate the public about the importance of voting in local elections. Instead of shaming an entire town, the media should draw more attention to the grandstanding manipulations of presidential candidates who aim to further their media reach by prolonging the "15 minutes" of a small-town court clerk.

    But what do I know? I'm just a silly redneck from Kentucky.