In some cases, it takes work to fit a complex subject into the available space. Today, I have the opposite problem.

There are two very simple and very important points I want to make. Consequently, this column consists of two halves, each of which is a continuation of previous arguments I have made.

My rejection of the claim that the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision threatens people’s right to follow their consciences is unaffected by the self-inflicted punishment of Kim Davis, clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky.

She created this problem by insisting on continuing to occupy a public office while refusing to perform the duties of that position, which she had not only sought, but also defeated others who competed with her for it. And unless Kentucky’s rules are different than any others with which I am familiar, she took an oath to do the job as it is legally prescribed – presumably to the same God who now tells her to violate it.

Respect for the demands of conscience protects personal freedom of choice. It is not a license to fight to gain legal authority over other citizens and then deny them the rights to which they – and their consciences – are entitled.

This last point is especially relevant. What Davis demands is the right not simply to engage in her own religious practices, but also to refuse services to which people subject to her legal jurisdiction have an absolute right, and for which they pay the taxes that provide her salary. Note that she has been demanding not just that she not have to participate in issuing licenses, but also that no one in the office for which she sought election be allowed to do so.

Private citizen Davis could freely pick and choose which biblical messages she applies to marriage; for example, she can ignore, as she has, the injunction against remarriage after divorce. (Could devoutly Roman Catholic clerks deny licenses to their co-religionists who share Davis’ disregard for this passage?)

But public official Davis cannot. And I have not heard anything to suggest that her religion forbids her from resigning the office whose duties she is conscientiously opposed to fulfilling.

The second point today is the further evidence offered by the hyperpartisan House Republicans that nothing in the emails Hillary Clinton sent or received as secretary of state reveal any embarrassing, irresponsible or inappropriate behavior on her part, other than the fact that some of them were on a private server.

The special investigative committee headed by tea partier Trey Gowdy has broadened its focus from Benghazi, where it has failed in its quest for damaging revelations, to include the emails.

Ordinarily, the scenario for such a panel consists of the investigators calling hostile witnesses and publicly posing questions that uncover misdeeds – to the obvious discomfort of those called. In this case, we see a very revealing role reversal.

People who have worked with Clinton have asked that their testimony be open; when the special investigative committee insisted on proceeding in secret, they have asked that their transcripts be published. Gowdy has refused, with the explanation that the transcripts can’t be made public because he has decided that they shouldn’t be.

This leaves Clinton’s attackers free to hint at or encourage speculation about bad things in the apparent absence of any basis for it. And while I may have missed it, I have not seen the usual media demand for transparency – which, if it comes, will lessen my suspicion that many of them have a deep-rooted interest in the negative in this case.

It is true that one State Department employee has, over Clinton’s dissent, pleaded the Fifth Amendment. But this relates to the admittedly incorrect decision to use two servers, not to any alleged damaging specific content.

Two very overblown controversies can be substantially diminished by two opposite, but respectively appropriate actions. Davis can fully vindicate her conscience by becoming a private citizen. Gowdy can reduce the so-far-unsubstantiated innuendo about Hillary Clinton’s behavior by making the relevant testimony public. Their refusals to do should be kept in mind.

Barney Frank is a retired congressman and the author of landmark legislation. He divides his time between Maine and Massachusetts.

Twitter: @BarneyFrank