Ky. Clerk Digs in, Still Blocking Gay Marriages

Judge ordered Kim Davis' office to issue licenses only yesterday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 13, 2015 10:00 AM CDT
Ky. Clerk Digs in, Still Blocking Gay Marriages
David Ermold, right, attempts to hand clerks a copy of the ruling from US District Court Judge David Bunning in Morehead, Ky., Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015.   (Timothy D. Easley)

A Kentucky clerk's office turned away two gay couples seeking marriage licenses today, defying a federal judge's order that dismissed her argument involving religious freedom. Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis' office rejected the couples' bid for licenses just hours after a US district judge ordered her to do the opposite and wrote that the refusal "likely violated the constitutional rights of her constituents." A deputy clerk says the office was advised by its attorneys with the Christian law firm Liberty Counsel to continue refusing same-sex couples as it appeals the ruling to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. David Moore and David Ermold were denied a license before James Yates and William Smith Jr., a couple for nearly a decade, were also turned away.

Ermold says the action is "cruel," while Yates and Smith Jr. describe a disconnect between the office's actions and their experience in the open and accepting community of Morehead. They held hands as they walked into the office, and gay rights activists shouted "Good luck!" from the street, holding signs that read "clerk not clergy" and "obey the law." Davis has argued her Christian beliefs prevent her from issuing licenses to same-sex couples. After the US Supreme Court ruled gay marriage bans unconstitutional, Davis stopped issuing licenses to any couple. Five couples sued her, resulting in the judge's order. "Davis remains free to practice her Apostolic Christian beliefs," he wrote. "However, her religious convictions cannot excuse her from performing the duties that she took an oath to perform as Rowan County Clerk." (More Kentucky stories.)

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