Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples because of a religious objection, returned to work Monday and said she was being forced to choose between “my conscience or my freedom.”
But she said she would not stand in the way of her deputy clerks, who had begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in her absence. And a couple from Lexington, Shannon and Carmen Wampler-Collins, walked away with their official papers.
Their license had Davis’ name removed and the words “pursuant to federal court order” added to it. She questioned the validity of licenses issued without her authority, but the governor and the county attorney have said that licenses issued to gay couples by the deputies will be valid.
“My license is valid, and it’s valid because of the court order that’s in effect,” Shannon Wampler-Collins told NBC News outside the clerk’s office in the city of Morehead. “It doesn’t have to have her signature.”
Carmen Wampler-Collins said: “It’s a big moment for us personally, so we’re just really happy.”
Arriving for work, Davis was greeted by a crush of cameras. Her voice was shaking as she read a prepared statement.