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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

By Steve Bittenbender

MOREHEAD, Ky. (Reuters) – The county clerk from Kentucky who was jailed after refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples said Monday she will not authorize the licenses now that she has returned to work, but she will not block her deputies from issuing them.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, 49, who has said her beliefs as an Apostolic Christian prevent her from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, has been under the threat of returning to jail if she interfered in the issuance of licenses.

Davis said she doubted the validity of the licenses that are set to be issued, which she said would state that they are being issued under U.S. District Judge David Bunning’s order.

Davis, who returned to work on Monday, told a news conference any marriage licenses issued would not carry her name, title or her personal authorization. She added she would take no action against deputy clerks who issue licenses, although she does not believe they have the authority to do so.

“I’m here before you this morning with a seemingly impossible choice that I do not wish on any of my fellow Americans: my conscience or my freedom,” Davis said.

A pack of reporters crowded into the clerk’s office on Monday morning, where there were no applicants for marriage licenses. Davis’ supporters rallied outside, saying gay marriage is a sin.

The issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Kentucky and other states has become the latest focal point in the long-running debate over gay marriage, which became legal nationwide following a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June.

Her supporters see her as being persecuted for her religious beliefs while her opponents say she is abdicating her duties as a public servant by trying to ban gay marriage which is now the law of the land.

Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Davis announced an office policy that no marriage licenses would be issued. Gay couples who were denied licenses challenged her policy.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered Davis jailed for contempt on Sept. 3 for refusing to comply with his order to issue licenses in line with the Supreme Court ruling. He ordered her released five days later when the licenses were being issued by deputy clerks.

In his release order, Bunning warned Davis there would be consequences if she interfered with the issuance of marriage licenses, directly or indirectly, when she returned to work.

Davis left the jail last Tuesday to a roaring crowd of supporters, who launched rallies after her release demanding the firing of deputy clerks who provide marriage licenses without her permission.

On Friday, Davis asked the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to allow her to continue banning marriage licenses for her entire office until a lawsuit against her is decided. Her attorneys argued that Bunning’s initial order had only covered couples who were suing her.

Liberty Counsel spokeswoman Charla Bansley said on Monday they would continue to pursue appeals for Davis.

Davis has asked Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, a Democrat, state lawmakers and Bunning to accommodate her beliefs.

“I don’t want to have this conflict. I don’t want to be in the spotlight, and I certainly don’t want to be a whipping post,” said Davis, also a Democrat.

The Rowan County Rights Coalition has no objection to licenses being issued as Davis described, spokeswoman Mary Hargis said. Davis violated the civil rights of same-sex couples when she chose not to issue marriage licenses, she added.

“She has an excuse as a religious conviction, but when did religious conviction and religious freedom become a shield for bigotry?” Hargis said.

(Additional reporting by Peter Cooney)

Photo: A protester holds a sign in support of Kim Davis outside the Rowan County Judicial Center in Morehead, Kentucky, September 9, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Tilley

  • RED

    Only a Bible thumping christian bigot could violate every tenet and edict of their own professed mythological beliefs and then be praised by other bigots when she directs her hateful bigotry and ignorance against the “proper” groups. In reality, it’s absolutely incomprehensible why the fools choose to believe in Iron Age fairy tales. But maybe I’ll believe these morons when we start seeing churches stop taking money from divorced people.

  • ModDem67

    Apparently Mrs. Davis has never heard of the separation of church and state. She is a government official, therefore, her religious beliefs must be checked at the door. Otherwise she needs to resign.

  • Richard Elvers

    shes a knot head, doesn’t know weather shes coming or going. radical, discriminating,prejudice bitch. not sorry I call it as I see it

  • Richard Elvers

    another thing Huckabee , and her lawyer, if I were in trouble I would not go to either one or vote them for dog catcher or garbage clean up people

  • Vintagechick

    To me it almost seems like she’s afraid of something. Could it be possible that she thinks fire and brimstone will rain down upon her silly self if she does sign the certificates? Or is she afraid of something or someone else?

    • Jinmichigan

      Afraid of something? That’s the glue that keeps religion from fading into history.

  • Shadow Diver

    “Davis said she doubted the validity of the licenses that are set to be issued, ”

    Because county clerks, in Dumbfuck, Kentucky, are constitutional scholars.

    • Joan

      My thoughts exactly. She has clearly and repeatedly demonstrated that she is no legal scholar – nor, apparently, are her lawyers.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    Kim Davis is like so many other misguided Dixie Belles. Her entire reason for existence is based on a man. She tries to play the role of independent woman, until you look at how many men she has run through thus far. She marries for validity of an MRS degree. Without a marriage license in her sweaty little palms, she feels less a woman.

    Her sudden “get religion” is part and parcel of how these once wayward Dixie Belles absolve themselves of their less than virginal pasts. The truth is women like this are THE most grossly insecure unless they have a man to lead the way for them.

  • Jinmichigan

    Davis needs to resign, she is obviously not capable of doing her job. It is ridiculous to allow her to continue getting paid for not doing her job. What does she think she’s a republican legislator?

  • Brian Loudermilch

    Great Idea. Tell people that those marriage licenses aren’t valid. Sounds like the perfect reason for having that Village Idiot removed from Office. Please Proceed.