Advertisement

Kentucky county clerk ordered to jail for refusing marriage licenses

By Amy R. Connolly
Kentucky county clerk ordered to jail for refusing marriage licenses
Same-sex marriage proponents await the court's ruling in front of the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on June 26, 2015. Thursday, Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis was found in contempt of court and sentenced to jail time after repeatedly defied judge's orders to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI | License Photo

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.

Advertisement

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."

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

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.

Advertisement

"In this country, we live in a society of laws," he said.

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

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."

RELATED Kentucky clerk defies order to issue same-sex marriage licenses

More than 100 protesters on both sides of the issue gathered outside the federal courthouse as Davis went before the judge Thursday.

Advertisement

RELATED Kentucky clerk sued for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement