Is Kim Davis still interfering in the gay marriage process in Kentucky? It seems that incarceration didn’t teach the now-notorious Rowan County clerk any lasting lessons, at least according to the ACLU. Davis originally rose to infamy when she began interfering in the same-sex marriage licensing process in June. She refused to continue issuing marriage licenses after the Supreme Court’s historic June decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. She claimed, and still claims, that issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples violates her religious beliefs.
Davis was conditionally released from jail on September 8 with the stipulation that she stop interfering with the process of marriage licenses being issued from her office. Additionally, she was barred from interfering with her deputies’ jobs. Prior to her incarceration, she was accused of interfering with her deputy’s abilities to do their jobs in addition to refusing to do her own.
NBC News is reporting that despite the standing court order to stop interfering with marriage licenses for same-sex couples, Davis is still interfering. At least according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a motion Monday detailing the manner in which they believe Davis is still interfering with the marriage licensing process. The civil rights organization’s motion demands that previous orders be properly enforced, and that Davis stop interfering and once again begin issuing the state-standard marriage licenses.
According to the ACLU, Davis immediately began interfering with the process of issuing marriage licenses when she returned to work on September 14. Brian Mason, her own deputy, reported that the interfering resumed as soon as she got to the office. Mason described her return to work, saying that immediately upon entering the office, she “confiscated all the original forms, and provided a changed form.”
The disputed replacement form, which is central to the ACLU’s accusation that she’s still interfering, are considerably altered. They don’t include references to Davis’ name or mention “deputy clerks.” The manipulated forms also fail to include a place for Mason or any other deputy clerk to sign the document. Rather, they are “pre-signed” with Brian Mason’s initials only.
The Lexington Herald-Leader has reported that Kim Davis’ own attorney, Mat Staver, said just last Friday that Davis herself seems to believe she is still interfering. This is because she feels the modified licenses are invalid without her authority.
“They are not being issued under the authority of the Rowan County clerk’s office. They are not worth the paper that they are written on.”
Despite Kim’s professed personal beliefs about the license’s validity, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkin have a different opinion. Both have stated that the licenses are indeed still valid, leading some to believe that they don’t see Davis’ actions as still interfering in the same-sex marriage process.
The Governor had some fairly unequivocal words on the subject, adding that the State of Kentucky immediately began and is still recognizing the validity of those married by altered license for tax purposes.
“These folks got a license, they got married, and that’s that.”
Except that’s not really that at all, at least not according to the ACLU. The organization contends that Davis is still interfering, and they are demanding that the interfering stop. They want the Rowan County clerk’s office to resume issuance of the official, unaltered marriage license version immediately. The ACLU firmly believes that the modified licenses are a shining example of Davis still interfering in the same-sex marriage process What’s more, they seriously question whether these manipulated marriage licenses are still valid at all.
“…material alterations to those licenses that render their validity questionable at best.”
From the ACLU’s standpoint, her actions seem to go beyond simply still interfering.
It does appear that Kentucky officials trying to placate the public may be incorrect in their assertions. Before Kim Davis was called out for still interfering with Rowan County marriage licenses, she asked Governor Steve Beshear to begin the process of removing the requirement of her personal authorization from the marriage licensing process. Under Kentucky law, legislative approval is required to make such a change. The Herald-Whig reported immediately after Davis’ release from jail that Governor Beshear refused to spare the time or expense required to call the special legislative session that would have been needed in order to approve any proposed marriage licensing changes and as well as to validate their legality. As of today, he’s still refused the request to call a special session for this purpose.
Because that special session never took place, county clerks are still legally required part of every marriage in the State of Kentucky. The Associated Press also reports that Kentucky state law still requires that “every license blank shall contain the identical words and figures.” This being the case, it would appear that is Davis still interfering in same-sex marriages. Not only that, she may have effectively rendered all marriage licenses issued from the Rowan County clerk’s office since her return to work invalid by way of her interfering actions.
Once again, social media has been abuzz with people talking about whether or not Davis is still interfering with same-sex marriage.
What do you think? Is the most notorious county clerk in the nation still interfering? If so, will she ever stop interfering? She’s stated she’s will to return to jail for issuing these seemingly illegally-altered marriage licenses.
Should she go back to jail if the court determines she’s still interfering?
[Image courtesy: Ty Wright/Getty Images]