Good news! Love wins in Kentucky, despite county clerk's protests
This summer, Kim Davis, a county clerk in charge of issuing marriage licenses in Rowan County, Kentucky, has become both a folk hero and a symbol of bigotry after refusing to issue licenses to same sex couples looking to get married in the state. But now, a federal judge has told the Kentucky native that she is officially on the wrong side of history, jailing her for violating the Supreme Court decision that legalized same sex marriage in late June. Against Davis’ wishes but in accordance with the law, beginning Friday her office will begin issuing marriage licenses to all couples.
“The court cannot condone the willful disobedience of its lawfully issued order,” Judge David Bunning told Davis today in court. “If you give people the opportunity to choose which orders they follow, that’s what potentially causes problems.”
If you’ve been following this story, then you know that Davis refused to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples on the basis of her beliefs as an Apostolic Christian, even after the U.S. Supreme Court refused on August 12 to hear her case and upheld Judge Bunning’s previous ruling that she and other employees of the clerk’s office must issue marriage licenses to all couples.
“To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience,” Davis said via a statement issued by her lawyers. “I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God’s word.”
Her defiance has thrust Davis — who’s been married four times, twice to the same man — into a spotlight where she’s being praised by religious conservatives for standing up against a law she doesn’t agree with while gay marriage rights supporters and activists are calling for her to be removed from office — a tricky task due to Davis’ position as an elected official who must be impeached to lose her seat.
Whatever happens, Davis won’t be denying anyone a marriage license for a while: Judge Bunning has ordered her to remain jailed until she agrees to issue licenses to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or her beliefs.
“Every time we go in there and we’re denied a license, it’s rejection, it’s marginalization,” said April Miller, one half of a lesbian couple that has attempted to receive their license from Davis three times. “We feel ostracized. We feel defeated. But we know that this is a liberty that we have been granted, and we’re going to keep fighting for that civil right.”
Looks like the office will be moving forward without her.
[Images via Twitter]