The June 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same sex marriage in the US was unlikely to be universally welcomed or popular, but by and large it was respected as the new law of the land, with local offices rapidly complying with the change. One notable exception was Rowan County, Kentucky, where the county clerk, Kim Davis, refused to acknowledge the Court’s authority to interfere with “God’s law”, and simply suspended the issuance of any marriage licenses whatsoever, even for heterosexual couples. Not content with her own personal noncompliance, Davis also issued orders to her deputies to follow suit.
The issue came to a head within days when on July 1, Davis refused to issue licenses to David Moore and David Ermold, as well as another gay couple and two straight couples. The four couples filed a lawsuit against Davis personally, and on August 12 the US District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky ordered Davis to comply with the law, but granted a stay until August 31 to allow her to file an appeal. In the ensuing three weeks, both the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the US Supreme Court denied further stays pending appeal, and on September 1, the four couples again applied for marriage licenses, and were once again refused by Davis, who claimed “God’s authority” as her right to deny the licenses.
The couples immediately filed a motion to hold Davis in contempt of court, and a hearing was set for September 3. The judge held her in contempt of his orders, and she was remanded to the custody of the US Marshals, who committed her to the Carter County Detention Center in Grayson, Kentucky, where she remained pending compliance with the court’s direction.
The case became a cause celebre for the radical right, who decried Davis’ incarceration as the latest sign of the coming apocalypse, and excoriated “activist judges” who were persecuting a good Christian woman for her faith. GOP presidential politics became embroiled in the issue as well, with former minister and Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, polling in the low single digits, taking up Davis’ banner with a vengeance. Citing the case as an example of the “criminalization of Christianity”, the Huckabee campaign organized a rally outside the jail in support for Davis, attended personally by the candidate and his fellow contestant Senator Ted Cruz, who characterized Davis as a victim of “judicial tyranny.” The rally was scheduled for September 8, and as luck (or the cosmos) would have it, the recalcitrant county clerk was released that same afternoon, just minutes before the rally was scheduled to begin.
Her freedom was hailed as a great victory for God and conservatism, with Davis appearing before a crowd of hundreds to the strains of the “Rocky” anthem “Eye of the Tiger”, side by side with Huckabee. Davis wailed with joy, her face upturned and her arms outstretched to heaven in gratitude for her freedom, but the reality is that she was released simply because the case against her had expired. In her absence, junior deputies had complied with the court order to issue the disputed marriage licenses, and the court deemed that the plaintiffs no longer had standing to sue, their wrongs having been redressed.
At issue now is what will happen once Davis returns to work; if she interferes with her deputies in the execution of their duties, she will be arrested once more. Will she be able to control her fundamentalist urges, or will she demand obedience to her will at the county clerk’s office, which has become something of a private family fiefdom? Davis has worked at the office since 1991, initially under her own mother as county clerk. When her mother retired in 2014, Davis was elected in her place, and now one of her twin sons is her deputy.
In casting about for suitable PNAs (Personal-Named Asteroids) to insert into the skies for the day of Davis’ release, I came across a remarkable “coincidence.” I was aware that there was an asteroid named Davis, but while searching for a “Kim” or its variant, I was stunned to encounter one named “Kimdavis”!
But this isn’t my first trip to the rodeo, so I was considerably less surprised, once I’d applied Kimdavis to the astrological chart, to find that it was exactly conjunct transit Ganymed, an asteroid noted for its resonance to LGBT issues (named for Zeus’ underage cupbearer and boy-toy lover), at 20 Scorpio. This pairing perfectly depicts the Rowan County clerk and the cause she has espoused. Further, these exactly opposed transit asteroid Davis, stationary and about to turn retrograde at 20 Taurus. Asteroid Davis’ stationary stance shows county clerk Davis’ recalcitrance and “digging in her heels”, with the implication that she is about to “change direction” in her attitudes or actions.
This basic polarity forms a T-Square with transit Venus and Mars, at 14 and 19 Leo respectively. These, of course, are the primary markers for sexual relationships and partnerships in general. With Venus also stationary, having just turned direct over the weekend of Davis’ incarceration, there is the sense that entrenched values (another Venus-ruled arena) are at the heart of the conflict. Moreover, a chart set for 3:45 PM EDT in Grayson, Kentucky, the moment Davis took to the platform erected outside the correctional facility, shows a 22 Libra Midheaven. Venus-ruled, this highest point of elevation for the chart, in the sign most associated with marriage, identifies the theme of partnership as central to the issue.
Contacts with Davis’ chart are also evocative of the proceedings. Born 17 September 1965, Davis sports a natal conjunction of Neptune and Mars at 17 and 18 Scorpio, well within the bounds of the transit conjunction of Kimdavis and Ganymed (the transit pair were actually together at 18 Scorpio, exactly on Mars, the day she was incarcerated). Neptune and Mars in tandem can be many things. Earlier in Davis’ life, it manifested as a rather confused (Neptune) sexual history (Mars). Davis has been married four times, to three men; her twin sons were born five months after her divorce from her first husband, and were adopted by her second husband, who is also her fourth and current husband. Her third husband was the biological father of the twins. Confusing, indeed!
But Davis had a self-styled “religious awakening” in 2011, and has adopted all the fervor of the convert, eschewing cutting or styling her hair or wearing cosmetics or jewelry, and donning only skirts or dresses falling below the knee. So in this instance, at this time, her Neptune/Mars is registering as the religious (Neptune) warrior (Mars), the zealot (Neptune) champion (Mars) of a cause. And what cause has Kim Davis chosen? As shown clearly by transit Kimdavis/Ganymed, it’s gay rights, or more properly speaking, the refutation of them, as God’s mouthpiece to a heretical nation.
The transit Sun played its part on the day of her release as well. At 15 Virgo it exactly highlights her exact natal pairing of Mercury and Uranus, the source of her decision (Mercury) to play nonconformist (Uranus) with the official documents (Mercury) under her jurisdiction. Uranus of course also reflects her freedom from prison, and the transit Sun (the day itself) exactly on the planet symbolizing freedom on the very day she is released is certainly a stunning testimony to the power of astrological symbols to describe terrestrial realities. Refining this picture is Mercury/Uranus’ opposition to natal Saturn at 12 Pisces, which suggests a naturally conservative (Saturn) mindset (Mercury), albeit one which enjoys shocking others and stepping outside boundaries (Uranus).
Close beside this natal conjunction are asteroid Ganymed at 13 Virgo, reiterating the gay-themed basis for her decision, and Pluto at 16 Virgo, suggesting dire consequences may follow her maverick (Uranus also) actions. Transit Pluto’s retrograde station at 15 Capricorn in April 2015 was exactly trine the natal Mercury/Uranus pairing, perhaps setting in motion the train of events leading to this impasse.
At the focal point of the transit T-Square, conjunct Venus and Mars, are Davis’ natal Kimdavis at 13 Leo, flanked by Narcissus at 14 Leo and Kassandra at 19 Leo. These raise the issues of whether Davis is a credible character (Kassandra), worthy of trust, and how self-centered or myopic her stand may be (Narcissus). With her natal asteroid Karma at 20 Aquarius filling in the transit T-Square to create a Grand Cross (in exact square to the major opposition), it seems that this was a fated conflict, one perhaps destined to prove life-altering in some sense.
The potential for Davis making headlines is inherent in her contacts to the Galactic Center (GC) at 26 Sagittarius, which promotes international or global visibility and recognition. Davis’ natal Jupiter, ruling the courts, religion, life philosophy and reputation, lies at 29 Gemini, in opposition to the GC, and was activated by an exact square from the prior Solar Eclipse at 29 Pisces in March, setting the stage for the conflict to come.
Not to be outdone, natal asteroid Hera, named for the Greek goddess of marriage, lies at 27 Sagittarius, conjunct the GC, and further defines the matter which would bring her to broad public attention (transit Hera at 25 Taurus, conjunct transit asteroid Davis, further linked the concept of marriage with the surname Davis in the public consciousness at this time). In particular, Davis’ natal Jupiter/Hera opposition shows the underlying cause of her celebrity—a legal ruling (Jupiter) involving marriage (Hera).
Lending reinforcement for this is transit asteroid Juno, Hera’s Roman counterpart, in square to Davis’ natal Jupiter and the GC from 26 Virgo at her release. Finally, transit Sappho, another asteroid associated with LGBT issues (named for an ancient Greek poet and lesbian), at 0 Leo is closely opposing Davis’ natal Juno at 1 Aquarius, once more linking the themes of “gay” and “marriage”.
Transit asteroid Themis, named for the Greek goddess of justice and reflective of the judicial system generally, falls at 17 Sagittarius, conjoined Davis’ natal Sappho at 18 Sagittarius and squared not only the day’s Sun at 15 Virgo, but her own Mercury/Uranus conjunction. Here is the reverberation, on a personal level via the natal chart, of the issues at hand—Davis embattled with the judicial system (Themis) over her private attitudes toward homosexuality (Sappho). Transit asteroid Justitia, Roman goddess of justice, falls at 0 Cancer, exactly on the Descendant for Davis’ release, at the cusp of the House governing marriage; natal Justitia at 9 Leo is broadly conjunct natal Kimdavis.
What’s ahead for Kim Davis? Her 2015 solar return suggests the coming year may be quite pivotal. On her 50th birthday, 17 September 2015, Davis experiences a transit opposition from Jupiter (the courts) to Neptune (her faith); Saturn (legal penalties, career matters) enters Sagittarius (issues of religion and the courts) for its two-plus year run (during which time it will square all those natal Virgo placements, including her Sun at 24 Virgo); and Mercury turns retrograde (suggesting a change of fortune or alteration in opinion).
In the words of that other Davis, Bette of cinematic fame, “Fasten your seatbelts,” Kim, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.