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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 4, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 36
Kentucky county clerk jailed for contempt
Deputies will issue licenses
Section One
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Kentucky county clerk jailed for contempt
Deputies will issue licenses

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis is in jail and her deputy clerks say they will issue marriage licenses to all qualified applicants.

After a September 3 hearing, U.S. District Judge David Bunning found Davis in contempt and sent her to jail until she agrees to comply with his August 12 order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Davis refused to issue any marriage licenses at all after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Lesbian and Gay couples have a right to marry. Six couples - same-sex and opposite-sex - are suing her to force her to perform her duties as County Clerk.

'The court cannot condone the willful disobedience of its lawfully issued order,' Judge Bunning said. 'If you give people the opportunity to choose which orders they follow, that's what potentially causes problems.'

The ACLU, which filed the motion asking Bunning to find Davis in contempt, had asked that she not be jailed. Their proposal was that Davis should be fined until she was financially unable to continue denying marriage licenses to applicants.

Davis asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay lower court orders requiring her to do her job and issue licenses, but the high court turned her down on August 31. The Sixth Circuit Court ruled against her on August 26.

Davis's deputy clerks said in an anonymous interview with a local reporter that they disagreed with her policy and want to issue marriage licenses to everyone who applies, but added that they are afraid Davis will fire them if they do so.

Judge Bunning gave the deputy clerks an opportunity to speak with public defenders prior to asking them formally if they intend to comply with his order to issue the licenses. Five of the six are reported to have told the judge they will issue licenses.

Davis's son Nathan, who is also one of her deputies, said he will not comply with Bunning's order and may join her in jail.

Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins said that Davis 'does not represent' Rowan County and is not representative of its inclusive values.

Watkins told the Kentucky Trial Court Review that he told Davis from the beginning that he 'will not and cannot support' her defiance of the federal courts.

Watkins said he has no position on same sex marriage, but that established federal law must be followed. Meanwhile, a second Kentucky County Clerk has vowed to die rather than issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Casey Davis - no relation to Kim - Clerk of Casey County, has also stopped issuing all marriage licenses since the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. In an August 24 TV interview he said he would 'fight and die' to preserve his freedom to discriminate against same-sex couples.

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