Kim Davis has been summoned to court to explain to a federal judge why she and her staff — who’ve also been asked to appear — shouldn’t go to jail or pay a fine for her defiance, The Associated Press reported.
A lesbian couple asked U.S. District Judge David Bunning to find the county clerk in contempt and he’s responded “swiftly.” The couples apparently asked for Davis to be punished with fines, not jail time.
“Since Defendant Davis continues to collect compensation from the Commonwealth for duties she fails to perform,” they asked Bunning to “impose financial penalties sufficiently serious and increasingly onerous” to force her hand.
There’s a heated battle outside a Kentucky court house this morning. County Clerk Kim Davis, the woman who has invoked God to justify withholding marriage licenses in protest of gay unions, has turned away at least four same-sex couples already, in defiance of a court ruling.
This continued defiance may result in jail time or fines for Davis, who hasn’t issued a marriage license in her county to any couple since same-sex unions were legalized by the Supreme Court earlier this summer, the Courier-Journal reported.
Kim remained barricaded in her office with the blinds and door shut tight as couples arrived first thing this morning in Rowan County. First up was April Miller and Karen Roberts, followed by news cameras. They were told no marriage licenses were going to be issued Tuesday, and staff said the clerk wasn’t available, the Associated Press reported.
Then came David Moore and David Ermold, who’ve been denied a marriage license four times. The pair demanded to see Davis, and when she finally emerged, they challenged her openly in front of a crowd that included both supporters and angry critics.
The couple asked her under whose authority she was preventing them from getting a license. Her response: “under God’s authority.” Then she asked them to leave and the couple refused, as supporters proclaimed “Praise the Lord” in the background.
“We’re not leaving until we have a license,” Ermold said
“Then you’re going to have a long day,” came Davis’ response.
She then asked someone to call the police, but Ermold had more to say.
“You should be ashamed of yourself. Everyone in this office should be ashamed of themselves. Is this what you want to remember? Is this what you want to remember — that you stood up for this? That you children have to look at you and realize that you are a bigot and that you discriminated against people?”
Also among those denied licenses Tuesday were James Yates and Will Smith Jr., who’ve now been refused five times. They left the building trembling and red-eyed. They declined to speak with reporters.
But there were plenty of other people making their voices heard outside the courthouse Tuesday morning, Davis supporters and gay marriage activists both. They demonstrated outside and lined up on either side of the building entrance, where they chanted at each other and sang songs.
Regardless of the clerk’s personal beliefs, her actions Tuesday are now a bald defiance of the law. The issue goes all the way back to June, when she declared her religious beliefs allowed her to deny licenses to gay couples, as the act of issuing them was tantamount to supporting same-sex unions. She stopped issuing the paperwork to all couples after states were ordered to comply with the federal decision, NBC News explained.
That’s when a federal judge intervened, ordered her to do her job, and an appeals judge concurred. On Monday, Kim tried once again to appeal this decision and was denied. The order to issue marriage licenses was firm and to the point, leaving Kim without a legal leg to stand on as she continues her fight.
As supporters and critics gathered, Kim’s husband spoke out to the press, reminding them his wife is “standing for God.” Joe Davis — a self-proclaimed “redneck hillbilly” — said they’ve received death threats and had to change their phone number in response to the protests, and compared Kim to biblical figures Paul and Silas, who were rescued by God after being sent to prison.
“They want us to accept their beliefs and their ways. But they won’t accept our beliefs and out ways.”
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