Kentucky clerk Kim Davis could head back to court over marriage licenses

FRANKFORT, Ky. –  Gay couples in Kentucky are questioning the validity of altered marriage licenses issued by a defiant county clerk and have asked a federal judge to order her to reissue the licenses or put the office in receivership and have someone else do it.


Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses in June after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling effectively legalized gay marriage nationwide. Two gay couples and two straight couples sued her. A federal judge ordered Davis to issue the licenses, and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld that order.


But Davis refused, citing “God’s authority.” That’s when U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning threw her in jail, prompting a fierce debate in the public square about religious liberty versus the civil rights afforded to all U.S. citizens.


Davis’ office issued marriage licenses while she was in jail, but the licenses did not include her name. U.S. District Judge David Bunning ruled those licenses were valid and released Davis on the condition that she not interfere with her employees. She was greeted at the Carter County Detention Center by a crowd of thousands and a church choir, flanked by her attorney and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Davis is a Democrat.


When she returned to work last week, she confiscated the marriage licenses and replaced them. The new licenses say they were issued not under the authority of the county clerk, but “pursuant to federal court order.” Davis said this accommodation preserves her conscience while also granting licenses to same-sex couples.


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