Metro Weekly

Westboro Baptist Church pickets Kim Davis

Controversial religious sect accuses Rowan County clerk of hypocrisy, saying same-sex marriage is punishment for her sin

Shirley Phelps-Roper (Photo: Jvdimas, via Wikimedia Commons).
Shirley Phelps-Roper (Photo: Jvdimas, via Wikimedia Commons).

For the LGBT community, it was likely the battle of the most reviled. 

On Monday, the Westboro Baptist Church arrived in Rowan County, Kentucky, to protest against County Clerk Kim Davis, claiming she has allowed same-sex marriage to happen because of her own sin against God — that is, adultery.

According to reporting from the Louisville Courier-Journal, four Westboro Baptist members picketed on a street corner near the Rowan County Courthouse, waving signs denouncing “fag marriage” and playing song parodies that were altered to criticize Davis. Davis previously shot to fame after going to jail for five days after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and attempting to stop her deputies from issuing such licenses. 

Primarily, Westboro calls Davis a hypocrite for standing against same-sex marriage when she has been divorced and remarried three separate times. According to Westboro, divorce and remarriage still constitute adultery. 

“This woman wants to say that her sin isn’t as grievous as the same-sex marriage sin,” said Shirley Phelps-Roper. “It’s all sin. It’s all awful. But her sin enabled that sin. When you look up, and all the Christians have given over the moral high ground, what voice do they have left?”

In a flier announcing their protest of Davis, Westboro claimed that the reason that the Supreme Court legalized marriage equality nationwide was because America has turned away from God. Pointing to Davis as an example of their fellow countrymen’s sinfulness, Westboro stated, “Kim claims she has lived in proud sin for many years, divorcing and remarrying, not one or two times, in fact you need a score card to keep track. Her lawyers, being smooth talking fellows, say that all that was before her call to salvation two years ago after her current mother-in-law died. Nice, tidy, clever, but no cigar!

“…These matters are not hard and unclear. That man that Kim Davis is living with, and calling her husband is NOT! Her husband is Dwain Wallace, who she married when she was 18-years-old. It does not matter how many years you pile on, it was adultery at the beginning and it was adultery in the middle and it is indeed adultery today!” Westboro’s flier continues. “The Supreme Court, in the providence of God, and for the punishment of this nation, has declared that same-sex marriage is the law of the Doomed USA. So DO IT!!! You asked for it, you begged for it by your disobedience and refusal to receive correction or instruction, so take it and like it!”

The Westboro members picketed outside the courthouse for 30 minutes before moving on to another demonstration being held at Morehead State University, also in Rowan County. 

Mary Hargis, an organizer with the Rowan County Rights Coalition, which supports the same-sex couples in their fight against Davis, told the Courier-Journal that her group held a counter-protest against Westboro at Morehead State University.

“I know they all have their agenda and what they feel is part of their protest, but it’s always really strange when you find one Christian group protesting another Christian group over basically the same issue,” Hargis said of the irony of Westboro picketing Davis when they both oppose same-sex marriage.

But other Christians who support Davis say they were shocked and offended by Westboro’s decision to come to Rowan County, saying that Westboro’s presence paints an unfair portrayal of Christians who genuinely oppose same-sex marriage.

“There is no love in what they are doing,” Rev. Randy Smith said of Westboro’s protest. “And they certainly don’t represent the God of the Bible and don’t represent Christians.”

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