Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who gained worldwide attention when she refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, has asked the 6th U.S. Circuit Court to dismiss her appeal. Although Davis contends her religious beliefs still prevent her from signing the marriage licenses, Kentucky state law no longer requires the clerk’s signature.
On Friday, June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled laws preventing gay couples from being legally married were unconstitutional. By Monday, June 29, most counties were prepared to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, per the Supreme Court’s decision.
However, as reported by USA Today, some county clerks, including Rowan County, Kentucky, Clerk Kim Davis, refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples because same-sex marriage is against their religious beliefs. Davis later refused to issue marriage licenses to any couple until the issue was resolved.
NBC News reports Kim Davis was specifically concerned about her signature appearing on the licenses. In her opinion, her signature would indicate that she, in some way, approved of or encouraged same-sex marriage.
The court clerk discussed her beliefs in a statement published by Lex18.
“In addition to my desire to serve the people of Rowan County, I owe my life to Jesus Christ… I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage. To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience.”
Although the clerk certainly has the freedom to practice her religious beliefs, she was criticized for failing to perform the duties of her position as a government employee.
Less than one week after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of two same-sex couples and two heterosexual couples, who were all denied marriage licenses by the Rowan County clerk’s office.
On August 12, U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered County Clerk Kim Davis to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. As she refused to comply with the judge’s order, she was found to be in contempt of court and was subsequently jailed for the offense.
Seven months later, in April 2016, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed a bill that essentially ended Davis’ controversial battle. The new law removed the requirement for county clerk signatures on marriage licenses.
— JoeMyGod (@JoeMyGod) June 21, 2016
Bevin discussed his decision in an official statement published by Reuters.
“We now have a single form that accommodates all concerns. Everyone benefits from this common sense legislation… There is no additional cost or work required by our county clerks. They are now able to fully follow the law without being forced to compromise their religious liberty.”
Although the new law allowed Kim Davis’ office to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples without her signature, her appeal remained open in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court. This week, the Rowan county clerk’s attorneys admitted the appeal is now “moot.”
In the dismissal request, Davis’ legal team acknowledged the bill Governor Matt Bevin signed into law provided “the very religious accommodation Davis sought from the beginning of this litigation.”
— HuffPost Politics (@HuffPostPol) June 21, 2016
In response to Kim Davis’ request for dismissal, ACLU’s LGBT Project Director James Esseks said the organization agrees that the “appeals should be dismissed.”
“Once the new Kentucky law becomes effective, all loving couples seeking to obtain marriage licenses will be able to do so on an equal basis.”
Kim Davis has been largely absent from the news in recent months and it appears that she and her attorneys are ready to end the legal battle as well. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court has not announced their decision concerning the request. However, it is expected that the appeal will be dismissed.
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