Clerk Rejects Proposal to Let Deputies Issue Marriage Licenses – New York Times
ASHLAND, Ky. — A defiant county clerk rejected a proposal that would have allowed her deputies to grant same-sex marriage licenses, hours after she was sent to jail by a federal judge for disobeying a court order.
Through her lawyer, the clerk, Kim Davis of Rowan County, said she would not agree to allow the licenses to be issued under her authority as county clerk. Had she consented, the judge would have considered releasing her from custody.
Five of the six deputies have told Judge David L. Bunning of Federal District Court that that they will issue the licenses, though some of them said they would do so reluctantly. The lone holdout was Ms. Davis’s son, Nathan.
Ms. Davis had argued that the Supreme Court order that she issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples infringed upon her religious beliefs and liberties. But after a hearing, Judge Bunning said that “her good faith belief is simply not a viable defense,” and ordered Ms. Davis to jail.
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“The court cannot condone the willful disobedience of its lawfully issued order,” said Judge Bunning, who was appointed by President George W. Bush. “If you give people the opportunity to choose which orders they follow, that’s what potentially causes problems.”
The clerk’s stance has put her at the center of political storm that has divided the country.
The White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, said he had not discussed the developments with President Obama. But he said Ms. Davis should not defy the Supreme Court.
“Every public official is subject to the rule of law,” Mr. Earnest said. “No one is above the law. That applies to the president of the United States and it applies to the clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, as well.”
Rand Paul, the Republican presidential candidate and a senator from Kentucky, told CNN it was “absurd to put someone in jail for exercising their religious liberties.”
Ms. Davis, an Apostolic Christian, tearfully testified that she had not hesitated to follow her religious beliefs and defy the courts. “I didn’t have to think about it,” she said. “There was no choice there.”