Kentucky Clerk Refuses To Issue Gay Marriage License, Couples File Lawsuit
On Thursday, an eastern Kentucky county clerk was sued by four Kentucky couples for denying them marriage licenses. A federal lawsuit against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky on behalf of two homosexual and two heterosexual couples after she refused to issue marriage licenses, including license for gay marriage, according to ABC News.
April Miller and Karen Roberts from Morehead said that they came to Davis’ office for a marriage license on Tuesday but were asked to try another county.
Aaron Skaggs and Barry Spartman, another gay couple, called Davis’ office the same day to apply for a marriage license. However, the employee on the phone said, “Don’t bother coming down here.” The employee further added that the clerk was not issuing licenses.
The lawsuit also says that the opposite sex-couples were also denied licenses.
While gay marriages were considered unlawful before the Supreme Court’s ruling, the clerks were asked by Governor Steve Beshear to begin accepting applications following the decision.
According to Reuters, Michael Aldridge, the ACLU state executive director, said, “When our laws are updated or changed, government officials have a duty and a responsibility to impartially administer those laws.”
Davis had said in an interview on Tuesday that while she expected a lawsuit to be headed her way, she would not issue gay marriage licenses because of her religious beliefs.
When asked whether she was considering resigning, she said, “I’ve thought a lot about what’s going to happen and what to do. I’ve just been praying about it. You know, if this is a fight I need to stay and fight, then I’ll fight. If it’s something that’s bigger than me and bigger than everyone else, we’ll just see about it when it comes.”
According to WLWT Cincinnati, the clerks say that they cannot be held responsible for discrimination if they deny marriage licenses to both gay and opposite-sex couples.
The couples argue that they have a right to apply for a marriage license in Rowan County as they live, work, vote and pay taxes there.
ACLU legal director William Sharp wrote in the lawsuit that the religious beliefs of Davis are “not a compelling, important or legitimate government interest.”
Laura Landenwich, an attorney who filed the lawsuit, wrote that Davis “has the absolute right to believe whatever she wants about God, faith, and religion, but as a government official who swore an oath to uphold the law, she cannot pick and choose who she is going to serve, or which duties her office will perform based on her religious beliefs.”
On Tuesday, Grenada County Circuit Clerk Linda Barnette resigned following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision.
“The Supreme Court’s decision violates my core values as a Christian. My final authority is the Bible. I cannot in all good conscience issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples under my name because the Bible clearly teaches that homosexuality is contrary to God’s plan and purpose for marriage and family,” she wrote in a letter to the board of supervisors.
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