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Kentucky clerk ordered to appear in court; faces possible contempt charges

By Amy R. Connolly
A Human Rights Campaign flag waves in front of the Supreme Court building after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of gay marriage June 26 in Washington, D.C. A Kentucky county clerk has been ordered to attend a hearing on possible contempt of court charges after she refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses despite a Supreme Court order to do so. File photo by Gabriella Demczuk/UPI
 
 | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/f4eb74e49410848e3cd1506815decd0a/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
A Human Rights Campaign flag waves in front of the Supreme Court building after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of gay marriage June 26 in Washington, D.C. A Kentucky county clerk has been ordered to attend a hearing on possible contempt of court charges after she refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses despite a Supreme Court order to do so. File photo by Gabriella Demczuk/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- A Kentucky county clerk who continues to defy a U.S. Supreme Court order to issue marriage licenses will face a judge again Thursday to determine if she is in contempt of court.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis could face fines or jail time after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a motion in U.S. District Court late Tuesday to compel her to begin issuing marriage licenses to all couples, gay or straight.

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In a separate development, Jack Conway, the state's attorney general and the Democratic candidate for Kentucky governor, is determining whether to hire a special prosecutor for possible misconduct charges, which could bring up to a year in jail.

Davis continues to say she is acting under God's authority in her decision to refuse to issue marriage licenses to anyone. Tuesday, she turned away at least four couples.

RELATED Kentucky clerk defies Supreme Court order to issue gay marriage licenses

"To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God's definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a heaven or hell decision," she said in a written statement. "For me it is a decision of obedience. I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God's word."

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Davis has refused to issue marriage licenses since the historic Supreme Court decision in June that cleared the way for same-sex couples to marry nationwide. Several judges have ordered her to resume her duties as county clerk, including the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, but she has repeatedly denied, citing her Apostolic Christian views.

The ACLU said Davis has "no legal basis to avoid performing her duties as government clerk."

RELATED Kentucky clerk mandated to issue same-sex marriage licenses; refuses

"The law is clear and the courts have spoken," Steven R. Shapiro, legal director of the ACLU said in a written statement. "The duty of public officials is to enforce the law, not place themselves above it."

Kentucky Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin said he fully supports Davis' right to deny marriage licenses to gay couples, drawing battle lines between himself and Democratic candidate Conway.

"I absolutely support her willingness to stand on her First Amendment rights," Bevin said. "Without any question I support her."

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