Kim Davis Asks Federal Appeals Court To Dismiss Legal Action

Kim Davis, the County Clerk from Kentucky who spent five days in jail after she refused to issue marriage licenses to protest the legalization of marriage for same-sex couples, has asked a federal appeals court to dismiss all legal proceedings in her case. Davis is relying on a new law that goes into effect next month that removes county clerks’ names and authorizations from the state’s marriage licenses to justify her request.

Davis claimed that she was “acting under God’s authority” when she refused to issue marriage licenses following the legalization of same-sex marriage. Davis ran for county clerk as a Democrat and was elected in January 2015. After her incarceration, she became a Republican and was even welcomed as she came out of jail by then-presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Davis’ case sparked a nationwide debate with many people harshly criticizing her, while others were very supportive. Ironically, while relying on the argument that same-sex marriage is against God’s will, Kim Davis has been married four times, although twice to the same man.

Davis has consistently defended her actions and has portrayed herself as a victim in interviews since her brief stint in jail. While talking to religious program Truths That Transform, Davis stated that despite the Supreme Court decision, marriage equality was not the law of the land. In a somewhat confusing statement, Davis insisted that the SCC decision is not law, it is a ruling and claiming that she is not bound by it.

The saga began after the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges was handed down on June 26, 2015. The Court held that same-sex couples had a guaranteed right to marry, and required all states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Davis contacted Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear to request an executive order protecting any clerk that had a moral objection to issuing the licenses since their names appeared on the actual license. Her request was not granted.

In direct contradiction to the Supreme Court ruling, as well as a direction from Governor Beshear, Kim Davis refused to follow the orders. A same-sex couple from Kentucky, David Ermold and David Moore, released a video showing Davis refusing to give them a license. The video went viral causing supporters from both sides of the argument to come out of the woodwork.

To make a bigger stand, Davis began refusing all marriage licenses, not just to same-sex couples. These refusals led to six couples suing Davis (in her capacity as the county clerk), with four couples proceeding under one lawsuit and two couples under separate suits. At the court hearing, Davis argued that her religious beliefs were protected by the First Amendment and that issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples was not a spur of the moment decision, she had “sought God on it.”

In August 2015, U.S. District Judge David Bunning ruled that Kim Davis was required to issue the licenses. She quickly requested a stay so that she could file an appeal, but that request was denied by both the Appeals Court and the Supreme Court, and she was ordered to issue the licenses.

Despite the orders, Davis and her staff continued to refuse to issue licenses and they were all ordered to appear before Judge Bunning in September 2015. During the hearing Banning ordered that Davis be remanded to the county jail until she complied with the orders to issue the marriage licenses. Five days later, she agreed that she would not interfere with the licenses being issued, although she insisted that her name would not be on them.

In a bizarre spectacle, Kim Davis was released from jail and a crowd of cheering Christian supporters waited for her with open arms. Mike Huckabee introduced her at a rally, with the song Eye Of The Tiger playing in the background. He even said he would have served Davis’ time for her in order to defend the right of Christians to oppose gay marriage.

In April 2016, the Kentucky state legislature passed a law removing the county clerks’ names from the marriage licenses. Kim Davis is arguing that the new law accommodates her religious beliefs and therefore the pending appeals are moot. She has asked that the appeals be dismissed, all orders from the lower courts, including her contempt and injunction orders, be vacated and that no costs be taxed against her.

[Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images]