Ky. clerk's attorney: New marriage licenses 'not worth the paper they're … – Washington Post
A gay couple walked out of a Kentucky courthouse with a marriage license Sept. 4, a day after the county’s defiant clerk was hauled to jail for refusing to license same-sex marriages, citing “God’s authority.” (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 Friday aren’t valid, Staver argued, because they were issued under the county clerk’s authority — but Davis hasn’t granted that authority. Even though the county marriage licenses no longer bear Davis’s name, Staver said they shouldn’t carry her title, either.
As the Lexington Herald-Leader noted, Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins has previously said deputy clerks can issue valid marriage licenses without the approval of their boss.
Reached at his office Friday, Watkins declined to comment. A representative for U.S. District Judge David L. Bunning, who sent Davis to jail Thursday and ordered her deputy clerks to issue licenses in her absence, could not be reached for comment.
[‘He has guts’: David Bunning, the same-sex marriage decision’s unlikely enforcer]
Rowan County Judge Executive Walter “Doc” Blevins and representatives of the ACLU were also unavailable for comment.
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.
By 8:15 a.m., Yates and Smith had finally obtained the elusive $35 license.
Mason, the deputy clerk, congratulated the couple and shook their hands.
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