County clerk Kim Davis set to return to workSept. 13, 201501:52
The Kentucky clerk who was jailed after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples hasn't exactly gotten the warmest welcome in her hometown after her release.
A billboard defending gay marriage, towering high above a Rowan County road, is directed specifically at Kim Davis.
Planting Peace, the nonprofit humanitarian organization that paid for the billboard, said in a statement that the "intent of the billboard is to expose this narrow interpretation by Davis and others that they use to defend their discrimination against the LGBTQ community."
"Dear Kim Davis, the fact that you can't sell your daughter for three goats and a cow means we've already redefined marriage," the billboard reads.
"There are LGBTQ youth across the world who are taking their lives at an alarming rate because of these messages from society that make them feel broken or less than."
The message appears to refer to a Bible scripture that says women can be sold into marriage as slaves. Planting Peace said they are pointing out that "a substantial number of zealots" cite their religion as a reason for disagreeing with gay marriage while ignoring other parts of the Bible that many consider equally antiquated.
Billboard Mocks Kim DavisSept. 13, 201500:58
Planting Peace president Aaron Jackson told NBC News that the billboard cost $500 and will stay up for a month.
“The anti-LGBT movement is selective in what rules to follow and how they choose to define ‘traditional’ institutions or values,” Jackson said.
After the Supreme Court's ruling in late June that the Constitution guarantees gay couples the right to get married, Davis continued to deny gay couples marriage licenses. She said it went against her Apostolic Christian beliefs to do so. Davis tried to appeal numerous orders to issue the licenses, and remained steadfast in her vow not to tender the same-sex marriage licenses when her appeals were denied.
Her stance landed her in jail on contempt of court charges, but she was released Tuesday because her office was issuing the licenses in her absence. Davis has said she will return to work Monday, and her lawyer said she will find a way to avoid issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Davis has garnered a number of supporters, and said in a statement Wednesday that she received "hundreds and hundreds" of letters of people who agree with her decision. Planting Peace contends that praising Davis sends a dangerous message to the gay community.
"We have to meet hate with love … intolerance with compassion," the organization said in their statement. "There are LGBTQ youth across the world who are taking their lives at an alarming rate because of these messages from society that make them feel broken or less than."
Jackson said Planting Peace is hoping to convey something very simple to LGBTQ youth: “You are loved, valued, supported, and beautiful. There is nothing wrong with you, and we will stand by you. You are not alone.”
Planting Peace doesn't only focus on LGBT rights, but has opened six international orphanages, treated children with intestinal parasites all over the world, according to their website.
A rainbow-adorned house across the street from Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas is probably Planting Peace's best-known project.
"Equality House" serves as the nonprofits headquarters for anti-bullying initiatives and has been the site of a gay wedding and a young girl's "lemonade stand for peace."