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Marriage License Standoff Continues In Rowan County

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The latest on a county clerk in Kentucky who has repeatedly refused to issue marriage licenses.

11:20 a.m.

As hundreds of protesters gathered at the courthouse, there was no sign of the Kentucky clerk who was summoned to appear before a federal judge because she refuses to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

It's possible that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis used a gated entrance in the rear to enter the courthouse. She was ordered to appear before U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning at 11 a.m., but by that time, she had not entered through the front, where the crowds had gathered.

Davis faces the possibility of being held in contempt and could face hefty fines or even jail time.

A small plane flew over the courthouse, carrying a banner that said: "Stand Firm Kim." On the courthouse sidewalk, gay marriage supporters shouted "love is not a sin" while at least three preachers with bullhorns called them sinners.

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10:30 a.m.

Hundreds of protesters have filled the street in front of the federal courthouse in Ashland as they wait for a hearing to start on the gay marriage case in Kentucky.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has defied federal court orders to hand out marriage licenses, saying her religious beliefs don't let her endorse same-sex marriage. A judge has ordered her to appear Thursday. If she continues to refuse to follow the law, she could be hit with fines or jail time.

The demonstrators outside are waving signs, chanting and singing hymns as they wait for Davis to arrive.

Signs ranged from the violent — turn to Jesus or burn — to simple statements of support. The hearing starts at 11 a.m. EDT.

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8:35 a.m.

A county clerk in Kentucky who has repeatedly defied court orders by refusing to issue marriage licenses will appear before a federal judge who could hold her in contempt of court.

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis has been summoned to the hearing at 11 a.m. Thursday before U.S. District Judge David Bunning. He's also ordered all of Davis' deputy clerks to appear. Bunning could hold Davis in contempt, which can carry hefty fines or jail time.

Davis stopped issuing licenses to all couples in June after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. Despite rulings against her, she's turned away couples again and again, citing her Christian beliefs and "God's authority."

The couples who originally sued in the case have asked Bunning to punish Davis with fines but not jail time.

2:55 p.m.

A Kentucky county clerk is again asking a judge to delay his ruling ordering her to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning's order has been upheld by a federal appeals court and the U.S. Supreme Court. But Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis continues to disobey it, saying she cannot do something that violates her religious beliefs.

Bunning has scheduled a hearing for Thursday. He could hold Davis in contempt of court, which could lead to fines or jail time.

But on Wednesday, Davis again asked Bunning to delay his order so she can appeal an earlier decision on a related issue. Davis had asked Bunning last month for an injunction against Gov. Steve Beshear for ordering her to issue the marriage licenses. Bunning refused to hear that motion. By doing that, Davis' attorneys argue that Bunning effectively denied their motion, which they have the right to appeal.

Davis' attorneys asked Bunning to delay his order while they appeal to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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