LOUISVILLE, Ky., Sept. 3 (UPI) -- The Rowan County Clerk's Office might begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses Friday even after clerk Kim Davis flatly refused to allow her deputy clerks to grant them in her absence.
Instead, Davis, the Rowan County clerk, opted to stay behind bars Thursday afternoon for disobeying a court order instead of allowing her six deputies to issue the licenses under her authority. If she had consented, the judge may have considered releasing her from custody.
Five of the six deputies in her office said they will process the paperwork beginning Friday, but it is unclear if they have the authority to do so without Davis's consent. The lone holdout was her son, Nathan Davis.
"My conscience will not allow it," Davis said to U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning before he held her in contempt. "God's moral law convicts me and conflicts with my duties."
Earlier in the day, Bunning sentenced Davis to jail until she complies with his order to issue the licenses. Davis was escorted out of the courtroom and remanded into the custody of a federal marshal.
Bunning told Davis as a Catholic he has his own views, but public officials must respect the law.
"In this country, we live in a society of laws," he said.
Davis has refused to issue marriage licenses to anyone, gay or straight, since the historic U.S. 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 refused, citing her religious views.
The Liberty Counsel, which is representing Davis, argued in a court filing Wednesday she should not be found in contempt because lesser measures could achieve the same goal.
"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 earlier this week. "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."
More than 100 protesters on both sides of the issue gathered outside the federal courthouse as Davis went before the judge Thursday.