County Clerk Jailed For Refusing To Marry Gay Couples To Be Released [Update]

Update: Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, will be released today. Davis was jailed Thursday after a judge found her in contempt of court, and her office began marrying couples again on Friday.

Judge David Bunning writes Tuesday that since "the Rowan County Clerk’s Office is fulfilling its obligation to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.... the Court’s prior contempt sanction against Defendant Davis is hereby lifted."

An attorney for Davis said that Friday's licenses (which said "Rowan County" where they'd have ordinarily said Davis' name) were invalid.



This story was originally published on September 3, 2015.

Kim Davis, the rural Kentucky county clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, has been taken into federal custody after being found guilty of contempt, according to WLKY. A judge said this afternoon that she will be held in jail until she agrees to perform all of her job duties, including giving licenses to same-sex couples.

A judge called for Thursday's hearing after Davis refused to serve couples after the Supreme Court decided not to hear her appeal. Davis has said repeatedly that her religion prevents her from issuing marriage certificates to same-sex couples, but that she should not have to resign from her job. The position of Rowan County clerk pays $80,000 a year.

In video shot on Tuesday morning, Davis told one gay couple she had been turned away four times that she was following "God's authority" and not U.S. law. David Moore and David Ermold have been together for 17 years, longer than some of Davis' own marriages. According to documents obtained by the Washington Post, Davis has been divorced three times and married four times, to three different men. LGBTQ advocates have not been shy about pointing out the hypocrisy.

The Supreme Court ruled on June 26 that all couples have the legal right to marry, regardless of gender, but officials in several states were slow to put the decision into practice. Now, two months after the historic day, only three clerks still refuse to follow the law. Davis, who was elected to her office last year and serves some 23,000 people in rural Kentucky, is the first to get her case through the courts.

Davis became the face of anti-LGBTQ bigotry when she openly defied Governor Steve Beshear's orders to Kentucky county clerks to abide by the Supreme Court's ruling and issue marriage licenses. Beshear said on Tuesday that the state legislature could choose to change the way marriage works in the state to protect clerks from having to give licenses to same-sex couples, but he has said he will not intervene himself.

Davis insists that she has the right to ignore some of her job duties because of her religious beliefs, and she's gotten support from some powerful people: Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, and Bobby Jindal. Huckabee called Davis a person of "great conviction" in a statement released Wednesday and said she should not have to follow the law. Other candidates haven't been quite so extreme, although they have said that there should be a way for government officials to be exempt from certain duties based on religious beliefs.

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