Why the Kentucky Clerk Could Be in Jail Until January

It has to do with the state's legislature
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2015 5:45 AM CDT
Why the Kentucky Clerk Could Be in Jail Until January

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis' husband yesterday said of his jailed wife, "Until something gives, she'll be there." The AP today sheds some light on just how long that could be. US District Judge David Bunning has said he will keep Davis in jail until she agrees to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Her attorneys say there's only one way she'd cave: if Kentucky state law is changed so that marriage licenses aren't given out under the county clerk's authority. But the state legislature isn't scheduled to meet until January, and Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear says he will not call a special session, which he views as a misuse of taxpayer dollars as the issue impacts just one elected official.

That means Davis could potentially be in jail for months, though the Courier-Journal has this to say on her legal strategy: Her lawyers "are appealing the contempt ruling to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and plan to file writs of habeas corpus in efforts to free her." Her attorneys also suggest it's more than just Davis being affected: They yesterday said the marriage licenses issued yesterday (six to gay couples and two to straight couples) aren't "worth the paper they are written on" since they weren't authorized by Davis, reports the Courier-Journal. Bunning himself actually said that he didn't know if the licenses are valid. Meanwhile, her supporters are pushing for a quicker resolution: They'll hold a "Free Kim Davis" rally outside the jail today; on Tuesday she's due to get a visit from Mike Huckabee. (Read more gay marriage stories.)

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