Does Kim Davis, Kentucky Clerk Blocking Gay Marriages, Have Legal Grounds? – NBCNews.com
The county official in rural Kentucky who has become the focal point for resistance to the U.S. Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision will appear this morning before a federal judge to explain why she should not be held in contempt of court.
The judge ordered Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis and all of her deputies to appear before him at 11 a.m. Lawyers for four couples who sought marriage licenses from her but were turned down urged the judge “to impose financial penalties sufficiently serious and increasingly onerous to compel Davis’ immediate compliance without further delay.”
“I let her know how proud I am of her for not abandoning her religious convictions and standing strong for religious liberty.”She stopped issuing marriage licenses a few hours after the Supreme Court handed down its ruling in June, saying that granting licenses to gay couples would violate her religious convictions.
Federal District Court Judge David Bunning last month ordered her to resume issuing the marriage licenses. She asked a federal appeals court and the US Supreme Court to lift his order, but both declined. Nonetheless, she has continued to defy it.
Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee voiced his support for Davis on Wednesday, saying he talked with her on the telephone.
“I let her know how proud I am of her for not abandoning her religious convictions and standing strong for religious liberty,” he said in a statement.
And the president of Kentucky’s state senate, Republican Robert Stivers, urged the judge to hold off on any decision about contempt of court until the legislature meets next year to clarify state marriage law.
Until then, Davis “cannot be reasonably expected to determine her duties until such time as either the governor by executive order or the General Assembly by legislation provides guidance and clarification.”
“It is time for the clerk and the county to follow the law.”Lawyers for Davis said in court filings late Wednesday that she should not be held in contempt for disobeying the judge’s August order, because she cannot obey it.
“Davis is unable to comply with the order,” her lawyers say, “because it irreparably and irreversibly violates her conscience.” They cite federal court decisions, including a U.S. Supreme Court case, holding that someone cannot be held in contempt when complying with an order is factually impossible.
A question for the judge will …Read More