Kentucky County Clerk Defies Supreme Court, Denies Same-Sex Couple Marriage License

| by Ethan Brown

Kim Davis, a clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, has once again refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Sept. 1, just hours following the Supreme Court’s decision refusing to support her actions.

On Tuesday morning, April Miller and Karen Roberts, and David Ermold and David Moore, walked into the clerk’s office to ask again for a marriage license. Unlike previous attempts at obtaining a license, the two couples were followed in by a large crowd of television news reporters and supporters from both sides of the issue.

Davis once again denied the couples a license, saying she was acting “under the authority of God,” the New York Times reported.

Moore told Davis that he would remain in her office all day until he received a license.

“Then you’re going to have a long day,” she replied.

Once the county sheriff, Matt Sparks, arrived on the scene, Moore asked him to arrest Davis. However, the sheriff said he did not have the legal authority to do so.

“I suspect the federal court will decide the next course of action,” Sparks said. “There’s actually people pushing – want us to arrest everybody here for disorderly conduct.”

Later speaking to the New York Times in an interview, April Miller said she was not surprised by Davis' actions.

“We were hopeful that we would get a license this morning, but we also understood that she has taken a pretty strong stand,” Miller said.

While the couple can apply for a license in another county, “it would set a dangerous precedent to let it go,” Miller said. She added that neither Roberts nor herself knew their story would make national headlines.

“I respect her for standing up for what she believes in – I know that’s hard to do, because we’re doing that, too,” Miller said of Davis. “I’m just sorry that she’s interjecting her personal beliefs above her government job duties.”

In response to a federal ruling which legalized same-sex marriages in all 50 states in June, Davis stopped issuing marriage license to all couples. Citing her religious beliefs, she filed a suit in federal court against having to perform this duty. However, a District Court judge ruled against her and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an application for a renewal of a stay.

Another court clerk, Casey Davis, spoke in defense of his co-worker to CNN.

“There was a lot of people that died for that right and I think we should be able to exercise it,” Casey said, referring to religious freedom laws in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Shortly after the confrontation on Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a motion in federal court to ask a judge to hold Kim Davis in contempt for refusing to grant licenses.

If she continues to refuse to issue marriage license, she could end up facing fines or jail time.

Sources: The New York Times, CNN

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons/James Willamore, Ron Nelson/Twitter