Judge Jails Kentucky Clerk for Refusing Marriage Licenses – ABC News
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis listens to a customer following her office’s refusal to issue marriage licenses at the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015. Although her appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied, Davis still refuses to issue marriage licenses. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
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A defiant county clerk was sent to jail for contempt Thursday after insisting that her “conscience will not allow” her to follow a federal judge’s orders to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
“God’s moral law conflicts with my job duties,” Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis told U.S. District Judge David Bunning. “You can’t be separated from something that’s in your heart and in your soul.”
The judge said she left him with no alternative but to jail her, since fines alone would not change her mind. A federal marshal escorted her, without handcuffs, out of the courtroom.
“Her good faith belief is simply not a viable defense,” Bunning said, noting that allowing an individual’s beliefs to supersede the court’s authority would set a dangerous precedent.
“I myself have genuinely held religious beliefs,” the judge said, but “I took an oath.”
“Mrs. Davis took an oath,” he added. “Oaths mean things.”
Hundreds of people chanted and screamed, “Love won! Love won!” as word reached the dueling crowds outside.
The judge also told all five of the clerk’s deputies, including her son, Nathan Davis, that they are free to issue licenses to all applicants while Davis is held in contempt, but would also face fines or jail if they refuse to comply. He told them to meet with lawyers and consider their fates before returning to his courtroom later Thursday to reveal their decisions.
Davis is being represented by the Liberty Counsel, an organization that advocates in court for religious freedoms. Her lawyer argued that the deputy clerks cannot issue licenses against Davis’ authority, but the judge overruled this objection.
Before she was led away, Davis explained that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June that legalized gay marriage nationwide conflicts with the vows she made when she became a born-again Christian.
“I promised to love Him with all my heart, mind and soul because I wanted to make heaven my home,” Davis said during about 20 minutes of emotional testimony. She described how she became a Christian and …Read More