Kentucky clerk refuses to issue same-sex marriage licences, in defiance of court order | Arkansas Blog

Friday, August 14, 2015

Kentucky clerk refuses to issue same-sex marriage licences, in defiance of court order

Posted By on Fri, Aug 14, 2015 at 2:45 PM

Kim Davis, a County Clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, has stopped issuing marriage licenses, claiming a religious objection to same-sex marriage, the New York Times reports. Davis's actions come in defiance of an order from a federal judge on Wednesday. On Thursday, the office refused to issues licenses to two same-sex couples. 

Davis is so upset about the Supreme Court overruling same-sex marriage bans last summer that she has stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether, whether to same-sex couples or straight couples. Since issuing marriage licences is a requirement for her job, things are getting awkward in Rowan County.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered her to carry out her public duties on Wednesday. Her lawyers from the Liberty Counsel, an anti-gay legal outfit immediately appealed and requested a stay. Davis didn't go to work on Thursday and her deputies refused to issue licences. The Liberty Counsel, by the way, tried unsuccessfully to meddle in Van Buren County

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has told Davis she needs to start issuing licenses or resign. 

From the Times, long-time couple David Ermold and David Moore tried to get married yesterday: 

“People are cruel, and this is wrong,” said Mr. Ermold. He and Mr. Moore have lived in Morehead for 11 years, and said they felt humiliated by their experience, and by the suggestion from Ms. Davis’s lawyers that they could go to another Kentucky county to get a marriage license.

“Telling people to go to another county is like saying, ‘We don’t want your kind of people here,’ ” Mr. Moore said.

Ermold told the AP, "This is how gay people are treated in this country. This is what it's like. This is how it feels."

Arkansas has had a scattering of resistance. One clerk tried to dilly dally and threatened resignation but eventually said she'd enforce the law reluctantly; one clerk said she would refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses — she was backed by the Liberty Counsel but then changed her tune after consulting with a local attorney; and one said she would wait and see what God told her to do, but there have been no reports of God telling her to break the law. 

In short, a little bluster but no outright law-breaking like we're seeing in Kentucky. 

Meanwhile, there's more trouble in Alabama, the Times reports: 

In Alabama, probate judges in 13 of 67 counties are, like Ms. Davis, declining to issue marriage licenses to anyone. One, Judge Nick Williams of Washington County, has urged the state justices to issue a “landmark ruling” to defy the Supreme Court. And State Senator Greg Albritton is calling for the state to get out of the marriage license business.

“We’re going to have litigation in Alabama, I am certain of it,” Mr. Albritton said, “over whether probate judges have a choice to accept or decline to issue the license and conduct the ceremony.”

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