A county clerk in Kentucky continues to defy the new US Supreme Court decision to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, citing "God's authority" in the ongoing two-month-old battle. Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis claims her religious convictions do not allow her to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite it being legal in the US since June.
On 31 August, the Supreme Court rejected the clerk's request for an emergency order to allow her to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples while she appeals a federal judge's order requiring her to issue them, Reuters reported. Davis is in the midst of a federal lawsuit filed by eight individuals who are challenging her office's policy to deny marriage licenses to all couples.
According to Reuters, the couple's filed a motion on 1 September asking US District Judge David Bunning to hold Davis in contempt of court. The couples are seeking fines for the clerk but are not asking for jail time. They have also asked Bunning to specify that Davis must issue licenses to all couples, not just those who have sued her.
American Civil Liberties Union national spokeswoman Allison Steinberg told Reuters, "The vast majority of the country has been in compliance with the law without incidence. She's an outlier." The ACLU said the organisation was unaware if any other county clerk in the US was refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Reuters reported that Davis and her deputies had been ordered by Bunning to appear in federal court in Ashland, Kentucky on 3 September. In August, Bunning told Davis she had to fulfill her county clerk responsibilities despite her religion.
Davis reportedly told Kentucky Public Radio that she had decided to continue refusing marriage licenses "under God's authority." According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Davis told one of the gay couples she turned away, "I just want you all to know that we are not issuing marriage licenses today."
A spokeswoman for Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway told reporters the office was reviewing a request for a special prosecutor to determine if the county clerk committed official misconduct. The offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 365 days in jail.
Despite her alleged deep religious convictions, US News & World Report reported that Davis has been married four times and has been divorced three times. Davis has repeatedly said that her strict adherence to the Bible does not allow her to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.