Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who gained media attention earlier this month after she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, blamed Governor Steve Beshear for her legal troubles in court documents filed Thursday. The Rowan County clerk had to spend five days in jail after being found in contempt of court for denying the licenses over religious grounds.
Beshear had sent a letter in June to Kentucky’s 120 county clerks instructing them to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages across all the states in the United States. But, Davis said that by sending the directives the governor "commandeered" county clerk's offices and "usurped control of Kentucky marriage law," the Associated Press (AP) reported, citing the court documents. The 50-year-old clerk alleged that Beshear, also a Democrat, violated her right to religious freedom after he did not agree to spare religious clerks from authorizing licenses to homosexuals.
In July, the governor told the clerks to either issue same-sex marriage licenses or resign. "The courts and the voters will deal appropriately with the rest," the governor reportedly said at the time.
On Thursday, Davis' lawyers with the Liberty Counsel, a firm that is against gay rights, stated in the filing that Beshear’s warning was "ominous." They said his directive for clerks to abide by the Supreme Court’s decision forced Davis to defy the court and spend prison time.
Beshear has asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit against him, the AP reported.
The latest court documents come shortly after a federal judge Wednesday rejected the stay request from Davis requiring her office to issue marriage licenses to all eligible couples. Davis has also been accused of interfering with the issuance of marriage licenses since she returned to work last Monday. Richard Hughes, a lawyer for one of Davis’ deputies said in a court filing last Friday that the Rowan County clerk violated a federal court order by making significant changes to marriage license forms that could weaken their legality.