Appeals Court Sides Against Rowan County Clerk, Davis Defiant (Updated)
A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling ordering a Kentucky county clerk to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis objects to issuing same-sex marriage licenses for religious reasons. She stopped issuing marriage licenses the day after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned state bans on same-sex marriage.
Two gay couples and two straight couples sued her. A U.S. district judge ordered Davis to issue the marriage licenses, but later delayed his order so that Davis could have time to appeal to the 6th circuit. Wednesday, the appeals court denied Davis' request for a stay.
An attorney for Davis said he was disappointed in the ruling and that Davis could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. He said he did not know how Davis would react to the ruling.
Update (10:30 a.m.)
Casey County Clerk Casey Davis has begun a bike ride across Kentucky to bring attention to the circumstances of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who has refused to issue marriage licenses, despite an order from a federal appeals court that upheld a judge's directive to issue the licenses.
Kim Davis has cited her Christian belief against gay marriages and declared she would refuse licenses to all couples, gay or straight, despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage.
A statement from The Family Foundation says Casey Davis set off at 4:30 a.m. in Pikeville in the eastern part of the state and plans to ride to Paducah, in the western part of the state. According to Google maps, it would take 44 hours to cycle from Pikeville to Paducah, which is 461 miles.
"I cannot let my sister go to jail without my doing something to let others know about her plight," Casey said in the statement.
Although the two are not related by blood, The Family Foundation says they are bonded by religious conviction.
Casey Davis says Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear should do more to protect religious liberties.
Update (10:20 a.m.)
William Smith Jr. and James Yates walked out of the clerk's office, shaking their heads in bewilderment.
Two months ago, the day after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage across the nation, Yates got down on one knee and proposed to Smith, his partner of more than a decade.
They wanted to plan a summer wedding, so went days later to Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis' office for a license, and were turned away. That first time, they were shocked by the rejection.
Davis cited her Christian belief against gay marriages and declared she would refuse licenses to all couples, gay or straight.
Two weeks ago, the morning after U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered Davis to issue marriage licenses, Smith and Yates returned to her office. And when she rejected them again, their shock turned to anger.
On Thursday, they were turned away again.
"They just don't like gay people, they don't want us to get married," Yates said. "And they'd rather burn the earth and not let straight people in Rowan County get married either."
Update (9:45 a.m.)
William Smith Jr. and James Yates strode Thursday morning into their county clerk's office for their third attempt to get a marriage license. The office of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis once again denied them, despite an order from a federal appeals court issued hours earlier that upheld a judge's directive to issue the licenses.
Davis has refused to issue marriage licenses, citing her Christian faith and constitutional right to religious liberty, despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning had already ordered Davis to issue marriage licenses two weeks ago. He later delayed that ruling until Aug. 31 or until the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling. The appeals court did so on Wednesday, denying Davis' appeal.
But a deputy clerk in Davis' office told Smith and Yates that the office believes Bunning's delay remains in effect until Aug. 31. He refused to give his name or give them a license.
Update (5:50 p.m.)
Reacting to the ruling, Christ Hartman with the pro-same-sex marriage Fairness Campaign tells WUKY the plaintiffs could press for contempt charges, adding, "[Davis] could face some heavy fines going forward and potentially down the road even jail time. I think that's unlikely. I think it's most likely that she'll incur financial penalties if they press for contempt."