A crowd of activists has gathered outside the Rowan County Clerk’s Office after her office continued to refuse to issue marriage licenses.
In responding to the suit brought by five couples and the ACLU, Davis’ attorneys said U.S. Supreme court precedent was on their client’s side.
“This lawsuit has never been about them getting married; they could have done that any time”, he said, suggesting the couples could have gone to the next county and applied for a license there. Gay couples-and I’m making an assumption here-could not give less of a shit about Davis’ liberties.
Roger Gannam, Davis’ attorney, said he quickly filed an appeal and will ask Bunning to stay the injunction until U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has a chance to take up the case. “She may continue to attend church twice a week, participate in Bible study and minister to female inmates at the Rowan County jail”.
The fight in Rowan, a county in northern Kentucky with a population of 23,000, began when four couples, two of them gay, were turned away because of Davis’ “deep religious convictions”. He stated that Davis may practice her faith in her private life, but would have to check it at the door of her job.
Davis’ job is to issue marriage licenses, but because her religious beliefs differ from what the Supreme Court has legalized, she’s taken matters into her own hands.
Kelsey Borza, a reporter for the local station LEX18, posted on Twitter a photo of display outside of the Rowan County clerk’s office.
Davis claimed Beshear’s directive requires her to “authorize” same-sex marriage, which violates her religious beliefs. At a downtown coffee shop and bookstore, where organic soaps and locally made jewelry share display space with books, even patrons uncomfortable with same-sex marriage say Davis must follow the new law of the land. Government, like any employer, has an obligation under federal law to accommodate her religious convictions, he said.
A same-sex couple has been denied a marriage license in Rowan County one day after a federal judge ruled that the clerk there had to resume issuing marriage licenses to couples, no matter their sexual orientation.
He also said he was not sure his signature would be considered valid because deputy clerks were in the office, and empowered to issue marriage licenses.
In his court order, U.S. District Judge David Bunning wrote that Davis “likely has violated the constitutional rights of her constituents” by promoting her Christian beliefs “at the expense of others”, reported Kentucky.com. Smith says the deputies were instructed not to issue licenses in Davis’s absence. Kentucky law, for example, statutorily allows clerks to opt-out of selling hunting and fishing licenses. In a brief, Davis’ lawyers even argued that “if a SSM license is issued with Davis’ name, authorization, and approval, no one can unring that bell”.
“I will say that people are cruel, they are cruel, these people are cruel”, said a tearful David Ermold, who was denied a license to marry his partner of 17 years.
Both said they were excited by Bunning’s ruling, which found that couples should not have to drive to other communities for licenses. The judge ruled that neither religious liberty provision excuses her from performing her duties as clerk.