The office has been encouraging the Davids and other couples seeking marriage licenses to go to another county’s courthouse.
Debbie adds that in other states, like Alabama, some probate judges have stopped giving out marriage licenses instead of following the Supreme Court ruling.
April Miller and Karen Roberts were refused a license in Rowan County on Thursday.
Ermold, in a tearful plea, called her actions “cruel” and said they were representative of the continued discrimination faced by gay couples.
“For other Rowan County residents, it may be more than a preference”, he wrote.
“Her religious convictions can not excuse her from performing the duties that she took an oath to perform as Rowan County Clerk”, Bunning wrote.
In Alabama, probate judges in 13 of 67 counties are, like Davis, declining to issue marriage licenses to anyone.
Which makes sense, because Davis doesn’t have to wish the couples a happy life or say congratulations.
“We know what it reads, sir”, a court employee said. Though courts that hold a defiant party in contempt are supposed to exercise the “least possible power” necessary to end that defiance, Davis could face fines or even be jailed until she agrees to comply with the Constitution. They were among four couples who sought licenses from Davis following the Supreme Court decision.
Davis, who is represented by the Christian conservative Liberty Counsel, has said that she’ll appeal the ruling.
Is issuing a marriage license – or deciding not to – protected speech?
“It’s just a matter of when”, he said.
Another couple also was turned away Thursday.
Still, some of the couples struggled to reconcile their support in the community and the rejection at the county clerk’s office. So, the couple marched to Rowan County Judge Executive Walter Blevins’ office.
He explained that his office isn’t equipped to issue licenses.
The clerks are “defying the injunction”, he said.
“We’re going to keep coming back”, said Karen Roberts, shaking after she was denied a license to marry April Miller, her partner of 11 years. She argued that issuing licenses to gay couples was a violation of her Christian beliefs.
Davis is among a number of clerks in Kentucky who have cited concerns over issuing licenses, and Bunning argues that siding with Davis would allow other clerks to follow her approach, in what could become a “substantial interference” in half of the state.
>>> For more on religious liberty and same-sex marriage, see Ryan T. Anderson’s new book, “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom”.
Moore said he also attempted to obtain the paperwork from the county judge-executive but was turned away. They’ve been together for 17 years, and it was the second time they’d been denied a license. After the Obergefell ruling, 60 clerks in Kentucky agreed to sign a petition to the governor saying they objected on religious grounds.
The couple then waited in line. But lawyers for Davis immediately appealed, and Davis did not show up at work Thursday morning. Bunning said Davis “likely has violated the constitutional rights of her constituents” in her refusal.
Despite the court’s ruling, Davis’ attorney, Roger Gannam, said Davis does not intend to issue any licenses until “we’ve exhausted all of our options to protect her rights”.