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Kentucky Clerk of Court Jailed; Marriage Licenses Issued
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Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk of court who refused to issue marriage licenses after the Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage was legal, has been jailed.

Summary: Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk of court who refused to issue marriage licenses after the Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage was legal, has been jailed.

According to MSN, a county clerk was jailed on Thursday after she repeatedly refused to issue marriage licenses in clear defiance of the recent Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage. Five deputy clerks stepped up and stated that they would issue the licenses in Rowan County, Kentucky.

  
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U.S. District Judge David Bunning essentially said that his hands were tied, and that he had to jail Kim Davis for contempt after she argued that her “conscience will not allow” her to comply with the recent rulings.

Davis said in court, “God’s moral law conflicts with my job duties. You can’t be separated from something that’s in your heart and soul.”

Bunning actually tried to give Davis a break, telling her that if she promised not to interfere with the issuance of marriage licenses, he would release her. However, Davis rejected this offer and decided to stay in jail.

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One same-sex couple stated that they would appear at the clerk’s office in Rowan County for the fifth time to see if the deputy clerks would issue licenses.

April Miller, who has been engaged to Karen Roberts for over a decade, said, “We’re going to the courthouse tomorrow to get our marriage license and we’re very excited about that.”



Earlier this year, same-sex marriages were stayed in Alabama.

When news of Davis’ jailing spread throughout the crowd that gathered outside the federal courthouse, cheers broke out. Many cried, “Love wins! Love wins!” Of course, Davis’ supporters booed to show their disapproval.

Roger Gannam, Davis’ attorney, said that the jailing marked the first occasion in U.S. history that a citizen was jailed for believing a marriage was between one man and one woman. He compared her actions to those of Martin Luther King Jr. when he fought for civil rights. He stated, “Kim Davis represents the best of us and everyone should lament and mourn the fact that her freedom has been taken away for what she believes.”

Gannam

Gannam

One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, Laura Landenwich, disagreed with such a comparison. She said, “Ms. Davis is in an unfortunate situation of her own creation. She is not a martyr. No one created a martyr today.” Landenwich noted that Davis …”holds the keys to her jail cell.”

Landenwich

Landenwich

While issuing the ruling, Bunning said that a “slippery slope” would be created if an individual’s ideas or beliefs were allowed to supersede court authority. Bunning explained, “Her good faith belief is simply not a viable defense. I myself have genuinely held religious beliefs…but I took an oath. Mrs. Davis took an oath. Oaths mean things.”

Liberty Counsel represents Davis. The organization advocates for religious freedom in court proceedings. Before she was taken to jail, Davis lamented that the Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage contradicts the vows she made when she became a born-again Christian. “I promised to love Him with all my heart, mind and soul because I wanted to make heaven my home,” she said.

Miller and Roberts have been denied a marriage license four times by either Davis or her deputies since the Supreme Court’s decision was handed down in June. Miller said that one of the deputies actually told them to apply for a license in a different county. Miller said, “That’s kind of like saying we don’t want gays or lesbians here. We don’t think you are valuable.”

Instead of facing fines, jail time, or unemployment, five clerks told the judge that they would issue marriage licenses. The one clerk that held out was Nathan Davis, Kim Davis’ son. However, the judge said that did not matter and he would not face punishment so long as the other clerks provided the licenses.

Read more about Davis’ defiance here.

One clerk, Melinda Thompson, said, “I don’t really want to, but I will comply with the law. I’m a preacher’s daughter and this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. I don’t hate anybody…None of us do.”

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As for Kim Davis, an Apostolic Christian, many critics have pointed at the fact that she is on her fourth marriage. Davis refused to hand out any marriage licenses since the June ruling. Davis has seen many supporters, including some Republican presidential candidates. CNN adds that Mike Huckabee plans to visit Davis in jail. She stated in court, “People are calling the office all the time asking to send money. I myself have not solicited any money.”

Davis added that she hopes the state legislature will modify the laws to help her find a way to keep her job while following her beliefs. Unless the governor convenes a special session, a significant expense, they will not meet again until January. According to the New York Times, Governor Steven L. Beshear has said he does not want to call a special session. However, Davis told the judge, “Hopefully our legislature will get something taken care of.”

Read about the Supreme Court ruling from June here.

Until that point, Davis may remain in jail, the judge said. After the hearing, Davis stood, thanked the judge, and glanced at the courtroom crowd, searching for faces she recognized. She was then taken to the Carter County Detention Center in a white van with no windows.

Although Davis’ attorneys have said that she could remain in jail indefinitely, Bunning hinted that he will revisit his ruling in a week, allowing the remaining clerks time to comply with his court order. Earlier in the hearing, Bunning said, “The legislative and executive branches do have the ability to make changes. It’s not this court’s job to make changes. I don’t write law.”

Davis was her mother’s deputy clerk for nearly three decades before she was elected as a Democrat to succeed her mother this past November. Since she is an elected official, she can only be removed from her job if she is impeached, an unlikely result in such a conservative state.

Bunning was appointed by former president George W. Bush in 2001. Bunning has not always ruled for conservative causes, however. He has ruled against a partial-birth abortion ban and in favor of a Gay-Straight high school club.

Source: MSN

Photo credit: NBC News, concordmonitor.com (Landenwich), breitbart.com (Gannam)

 



 

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