Kim Davis, the clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky who was jailed after she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples has been ordered to be released. Ms. Davis has been held in custody since last Thursday after she defied a court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
According to The New York Times, Judge David L. Bunning of the Federal District Court ruled that Kim should be freed from a county detention center in Grayson, Kentucky. This is the same judge that had ordered her detention last week.
The judge issued a two-page order in which he stated that he was satisfied that Kim’s office was “fulfilling its obligation to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.” The order also ordered that Ms. Davis “shall not interfere in any way, directly or indirectly, with the efforts of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.” Judge Bunning added that any such action from her side would be regarded a violation of her release order.
Kim Davis’ refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses became a topic of national interest – more so after her incarceration. The controversy started last week after the Rowan County clerk’s office started issuing issuing same-sex marriage licenses for the first time since June’s historic Supreme Court ruling. The ruling made same-sex marriages legal in all 50 states of the United States.
Kim Davis, however, refused to issue any same-sex marriage licenses, claiming her religious beliefs prohibit her from doing so. She also refused to issue marriage licenses to male-female couples in order to avoid any discrimination, according to her. After Davis had refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses despite the court order, she became the first county clerk to be sued for the refusal of a Supreme Court edict.
Kim’s action made national headlines, and Christian conservative groups voiced their full support for her decision. Davis also found some high-level support when presidential candidate Mike Huckabee spoke out firmly in her defense. Huckabee stated that the Supreme Court’s June same-sex marriage ruling is not valid in the State of Kentucky without enabling legislation. Another person who spoke in support of Davis was the United States Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz. Huckabee and Cruz were planning to meet Davis before the news of her release order came out.
Meanwhile, Davis’ deputies at the Rowan County clerk’s office began issuing same-sex marriage licenses after she was jailed. Davis’ lawyers have questioned if the new licenses issued in her absence are valid. County officials, however, insist that these licenses will be recognized.
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