A Kentucky county clerk refused issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples on Tuesday citing “God’s authority.”
Additionally, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis refused to resign from her post amid the possibility that she could be subjected to extreme fines or jail time. “It is not a light issue for me,” Kim said. “It is a heaven or hell decision.”
Kim denied marriage licenses to two same sex couples on Tuesday. She has refused to issue licenses to same and opposite sex couples ever since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of legalization of same sex marriages in June.
Kim, who has been refusing to issue marriages licenses citing her religious beliefs, filed an emergency application on Monday. However, her application was denied by the Supreme Court. According to CNN, the ACLU lawyers say in court papers that the plaintiffs went to Kim’s office at 8 a.m. Tuesday to obtain a marriage license following Supreme Court’s order late Monday night. “Unfortunately , they were again denied by a deputy clerk who asserted that no marriage licenses would be issued,” the ACLU said in a statement. The lawyers say that Davis has “violated a definite and specific order” and that there is “no choice but to hold her in contempt.”
Also read: Kentucky County Clerk Should Issue Marriage Licenses To Same-Sex Couples, Appeals Court Says
University of Kentucky law professor Scott Bauries says Kim can only be taken down from her post through an impeachment, as she is an elected official. As reported by TIME, the Kentucky General Assembly isn’t currently in session. Although Governor Steve Beshear could call for a special session, the legislature would lean towards Rowan, experts say. “[Kim has] probably got enough supporters that she wouldn’t be impeached anyway,” Bauries says.
Judge David Bunning of the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Kentucky can impose a steep fine on Kim for being in contempt of court. “It’s very likely Judge Bunning is going to sanction her sometime this week, likely a monetary sanction,” Bauries says.
Casey Davis, fellow Kentucky clerk who supports Kim, says “we’ve not tried to prevent” same-sex marriages, but “only tried to exercise our First Amendment rights.” Casey said that same sex couples could go to another county to obtain marriage license. “There was a lot of people that died for that right and I think we should be able to exercise it,” Casey said.
Kim’s actions were acknowledged by her supporters, who compared her to Biblical figures Paul and Silas, who were penalized for their faith and subsequently rescued by God, as reported by Yahoo News.
The couples’ lawyers said that Kim should be fined, as she still receives her pay despite failing to perform her duties. They asked that the judge “impose financial penalties sufficiently serious and increasingly onerous” to “compel her immediate compliance without delay.”
In a statement, Kim said, “I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God’s word,” her statement said.
She further said, “Some people have said I should resign, but I have done my job well,” Davis wrote. “To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. … I intend to serve the people of Rowan County, but I cannot violate my conscience.”
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