Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of her religious beliefs, was ordered to jail Thursday by a federal judge who found her in contempt of court.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the judge in the case said his only alternative was to jail her because he didn’t believe she would comply with his order even if she were fined.
Davis was escorted out of his courtroom by a deputy but was not placed in handcuffs. She will be handed over to federal marshals.
Kim Davis reportedly testified for about 20 minutes, giving a very emotional account of her conversion to Christianity and her inability to accept anything other than what she believes.
Earlier in the day, The Courier Journal reported that lawyers for Davis asked U.S. District Judge David Bunning to temporarily block his order requiring the Rowan County clerk to issue marriage licenses while she appeals the issue.
Davis, an Apostolic Christian, has refused to issue licenses to any couples, gay or straight, since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that same-sex couples have the right to marry under the U.S. Constitution.
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) September 1, 2015
In July, four couples filed a federal lawsuit against Davis in light of her staunch policy. In August, the court ruled in favor of the couples, saying that Davis was required fulfill her official duties as a county clerk despite her religious beliefs.
Davis has appealed his order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which turned down her request for a stay pending appeal last week. The U.S. Supreme Court also turned down her request for an emergency stay on Monday.
— Courier-Journal.com (@courierjournal) September 3, 2015
After her continued refusal to obey the Supreme Court’s order, same-sex couples filed a motion on Tuesday asking Bunning to hold her in contempt of court, seeking fines but no jail time.
According to WKYT, Davis maintains that she has the right, “under God’s authority,” to continue to refuse issuing licenses.
“To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God’s word. It is a matter of religious liberty.”
— NPR (@NPR) September 2, 2015
The couples are represented by The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, which said on Tuesday that the law is clear on the issue.
“The duty of public officials is to enforce the law, not place themselves above it.”
The Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based Christian religious advocacy organization that represents Kim Davis, said in court papers on Wednesday an injunction would halt the “irreversible implications on Davis’ conscience” while she appeals the case, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
The contempt hearing against Kim Davis is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at the U.S. District Courthouse in Ashland, Kentucky.
[Photo by Ty Wright / Getty Images]