Kim Davis, the County Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, has again refused to issue marriage licenses under her name to same-sex couples, after her five-day stint in jail for not wanting to defy “God’s authority” regarding the covenant of marriage. Despite Democratic Governor Steve Beshear’s assurance that the marriage licenses reissued without her name last week would be recognized by the state, American Civil Liberties Union lawyers questioned the validity of the documents and rejected them.
On Wednesday, Federal Judge David Bunning dismissed Davis’ contention of her suffering irreparable harm if she issued the licenses with her stamp of approval on them. According to the Advocate, Judge Bunning made his opinion clear in a ruling he wrote.
“This argument is unpersuasive because Davis has created her own risk of harm by violating a valid order issued by this court. As for the public interest, the court simply notes that the public has an interest in the enforcement of valid court orders.”
After Davis was freed from jail on September 8, 2015, she replaced the marriage licenses released in her absence with new ones stating they were issued not under the authority of the county clerk, but “pursuant to federal court order.” Davis claimed this accommodation would preserve her conscience while granting licenses to same-sex couples.
The Toronto Star reported that on Monday, ACLU lawyers questioned the validity of the replaced licenses and asked Judge Bunning to order Davis’ office to reissue new ones. The lawyers also demanded that the judge place Davis’ office in a receivership for the purposes of issuing marriage licenses, if she interferes.
Mat Staver, Davis’ attorney and founder of the Liberty Counsel law firm, argued that because the couples who sued her received their licenses, she did not have to issue any more with that case pending. He underscored his client’s plight, as she struggles under duress from hate mail and death threats.
“Kim Davis has made a good-faith effort to comply with the court’s order. The ACLU’s motion to again hold Kim Davis in contempt reveals that their interest is not the license but rather a marriage license bearing the name of Kim Davis. They want her scalp to hang on the wall as a trophy.”
According to the New York Times, two presidential contenders, Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz, were among a throng of well-wishers on hand to greet Kim Davis when she was released from the Carter County Detention Center. Huckabee went on record saying that if Davis is ordered back to jail, he would go in her place.
After her release, the Oath Keepers, a group of ex-military, police and first-responders, offered the Kim Davis legal team protection to her to ensure that she would not be “illegally” detained again. While the offer was declined, Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes made it clear that what they were doing was not because of her views on gay marriage, but because she is an elected public servant who was illegally arrested and held without due process.
The National Post reported that during an interview aired Tuesday on Good Morning America, Kim Davis said she is prepared to return to jail over her beliefs.
[Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images]