I have been very uncomfortable with the speed at which some of my otherwise progressive and open-minded friends on FB, G+ or other social media have jumped into mocking Rowan County clerk Kim Davis for her looks, or engaging in slut-shaming her for her marriage history.
I think calling out her previous marriages is definitely relevant to the discussion, but not because it means she’s a “slut” or a “whore” (as some of the posted photo memes have said: I’m not even going to link to them), but rather because it shows that she has been willing in the past to take advantage of the religious freedom guaranteed to her by the Constitution, as well as her Christian privilege, in order to obtain a marriage license in spite of the fact that many other people have religious objections to her getting one. But now, when she is in a position of authority to make a similar decision for other people, she is not willing to extend that same freedom and privilege to others. She has the right to not approve on a personal level, but the problem here is using her position of government power to deny the license (and also forbid her employees from granting it).
THAT’S the hypocrisy involved and why her multiple marriages are relevant to the conversation; that does not and MUST not (if we don’t want to be hypocrites ourselves) translate into slut-shaming. We don’t know why she got divorced; would you feel good about yourself making fun of her multiple divorces if you found out they ended because she was being abused?
Whatever the reason for her divorces, she was able to get divorced PRECISELY because laws are secular in nature and should never be subservient to religion or the religious conscience of the person in government with the authority to enforce them. That she is not willing to extend that same right to others is the hypocrisy in this case: we would not call a person showing up at her office to get their fourth same-sex marriage license a slut or a whore, and we should show her the same respect.
As to how she looks: you may or may not find her attractive, but that is completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand. Let’s have some empathy though, and realize that non of us are supermodels: if you were in the news tomorrow because of a civil rights issue you felt passionately about, would you want people on Facebook discussing the merits of your issue and the arguments you’ve made, or the size of your gut?
Let’s be better than those we criticize. Let’s be better than previous versions of ourselves.