A federal judge says Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis will have to resume issuing marriage licenses on August 31st unless an appeals court says otherwise according to Kentucky Public Radio Capitol Reporter Ryland Barton.
Earlier this week U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning granted a temporary stay of a decision he levied against Davis.
With precedent set that a clerks’ sincerely held religious beliefs can legally excuse them from the core duties of their jobs if they oppose same-sex couples, doors open to other Civil Rights Act degradations similar to what the pro-choice community has seen as anti-abortion activists hack away at the Supreme Court precedent one law at a time. Kentucky’s Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear ordered her to issue the license, resign, or be fired.
Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses after the high court’s ruling, saying it would violate her Christian beliefs to issue a license to a same-sex couple that has her name on it. If Davis continues to refuse to issue marriage licenses, she can potentially be found in contempt, which could carry stiff penalties if she continues to defy Bunning’s order, provided that her appeal is unsuccessful. A county clerk in Kentucky filed an appeal to the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in hopes of securing the right to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Late Monday afternoon, Bunning decided to stay his ruling while lawyers for the Liberty Counsel, a religious advocacy group that is representing Davis in her fight, appeal the case.
Stays of court orders are common to maintain the status quo pending an appeal, but in this case, the delay enables the continuation “of an unlawful policy”, the plaintiffs’ attorneys complained. The ACLU of Kentucky then sued Davis on behalf of the four couples who were unable to obtain marriage licenses in their home county.
Davis testified in federal court last month she has religious objections to authorizing same-sex marriages.