Ky. clerk's attorney: New marriage licenses 'not worth the paper they're … – Washington Post
An attorney representing Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, says licenses made by her deputy clerks are void. (AP)
MOREHEAD, Ky. – An attorney for jailed Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis said Friday that the marriage licenses issued by her deputies to several same-sex couples are invalid.
“They are not worth the paper they’re written on,” Mat Staver said outside the Carter County Detention Center, where Davis is being held on a contempt charge.
Speaking at an afternoon news conference in Grayson, about 35 miles from the Rowan County Courthouse, Staver said: “Our position and the position of the clerk of Rowan County is that those licenses are void.”
The licenses issued to same-sex couples Friday aren’t valid, Staver argued, because they were issued under the county clerk’s authority — but Davis hasn’t granted that authority.
The marriage forms issued Friday did not bear Davis’s name because of her refusal to endorse them. Instead, the clerk’s office included a space for a deputy clerk to sign his or her name.
U.S. District Judge David L. Bunning sent Davis to jail and ordered the deputy clerks to issue licenses in her absence. A representative for Bunning could not be reached for comment Friday.
As the Lexington Herald-Leader noted, Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins has previously said deputy clerks don’t need Davis’s approval to issue valid marriage licenses. Reached at his office Friday, Watkins declined to comment.
In other Kentucky counties, marriage licenses are routinely signed by a deputy, even though the clerk’s name appears on the form.
[‘He has guts’: David Bunning, the same-sex marriage decision’s unlikely enforcer]
Staver’s remarks came more than seven hours after the opening of the Rowan County Courthouse, where Brian Mason was waiting behind a sign reading: “Marriage License Deputy.”
James Yates and William Smith Jr. entered the media-filled courthouse, hand-in-hand, and began the process of applying for a marriage license. Again.
They had been rejected five times previously, as Davis refused to issue marriage licenses to any couples since the Supreme Court declared in June that gay couples had a constitutional right to wed.
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