Kentucky: County Clerk Jailed and Freed Over Same-Sex Marriage Dispute

Kim Davis

A week since she was released from jail, Kim Davis, the infamous county clerk in Kentucky, who shot to notoriety after refusing same-sex couples marriage licenses, has gone back to work. Davis filed an appeal on September 11, seeking another delay in issuing marriage licenses to all couples wanting to tie the knot. Despite United States District Court Judge David Bunning clarifying that his order to issue marriage licenses applied to all couples, Davis’ lawyers said that the mandate was issued improperly and thus not considered effective, while appealing for the delay.

Earlier, the Sixth Circuit United States Court of Appeals dismissed Davis’ argument that her right to religious freedom allowed her to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

“It cannot be defensibly argued that the holder of the Rowan County Clerk's office, apart from who personally occupies that office, may decline to act in conformity with the United States Constitution as interpreted by a dispositive holding of the United States Supreme Court,” the panel had written.

Davis, who objects to same-sex marriage as an Apostolic Christian, stopped issuing marriage licenses to all couples in June after the United States Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Two gay couples went on to sue her, with Bunning eventually ordering Davis to issue the necessary marriage licenses in Rowan County. She was arrested on September 3 for refusing to abide by Bunning’s order, while stating that she could not follow through with his ruling if it required her to betray her own conscience.

“I’ve weighed the cost and I’m prepared to go to jail,” she had told the media before her hearing. “This has never been a gay or lesbian issue for me. This is about upholding the word of God.”

Davis broke down at the end of her hearing, before being escorted to jail by United States marshals. She refused to attend the subsequent hearings and communicated via her attorneys thereafter. She was released from jail within five days however, after presidential candidate Mike Huckabee decided to take up her cause and root for her rights.

Davis’ legal battle contesting the constitutionality of same-sex marriage has gone on for at least two months. The 49-year-old, soft-spoken woman has emerged as a darling for all social conservatives, who do not agree with the Supreme Court’s ruling in favour of same-sex marriage. The court proceedings of September 3 were the result of months of arguing and refusing by Davis to follow Bunning’s order and just do her job. The dispute has drawn global attention with advocates of both sides staging protests.

White House spokesperson Josh Earnest had said earlier that it was only appropriate for a federal judge to reach a resolute decision on the matter.

“No public official is above the rule of law, certainly not president of the United States, but neither is the Rowan county clerk,” he had said.

Davis’ imprisonment drew criticism almost instantaneously with Huckabee saying the county clerk’s federal custody makes evident how Christianity was being criminalized in the country.

Photo Credits: News Australia

If you like our posts, subscribe to the Atheist Republic newsletter to get exclusive content delivered weekly to your inbox. Also, get the book "Why There is No God" for free.

Click Here to Subscribe

Donating = Loving

Heart Icon

Bringing you atheist articles and building active godless communities takes hundreds of hours and resources each month. If you find any joy or stimulation at Atheist Republic, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.

Or make a one-time donation in any amount.