Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who gained nationwide attention for denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples, filed an appeal asking a court to dismiss rulings that landed her in jail. Davis was jailed in September after being found in contempt of court for defying the Supreme Court’s June ruling that legalized gay marriage across the U.S.
In her court filing, Davis’ attorneys wrote to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning's order telling Davis to issue license marriage licenses to gay couples was a "rush to judgment," the Associated Press reported. According to the filing, the order curbed Davis’ religious liberty, AP reported.
Jonathan Christman, Davis' lawyer with the Liberty Counsel, appealed to the court to overturn four of the lower court's rulings. Two of the rulings stated that Davis must issue licenses and be held in contempt.
"By imprisoning Davis and threatening to hold her hostage indefinitely as a prisoner of her conscience, the district court imposed direct pressure and substantial burden on Davis, forcing her to choose between her religious beliefs and forfeiting her essential personal freedom on one hand, or abandoning those beliefs to keep her freedom on the other hand," Christman wrote in the filing, according to AP.
Christman also wrote that Bunnings “commandeered” the public office, which Davis was elected to manage, by jailing her and ordering her deputy clerks to issue the licenses.
In September, a lawyer for one of Davis’ deputy clerks said that the Rowan County clerk altered the marriage licenses weakening their legality. The lawyers further alleged that Davis removed her name, the county’s name, and references to deputy clerks from marriage license forms when she returned to work after spending five days in the jail.
The 50-year-old Rowan County clerk stood by her decision of not issuing the marriage licenses citing her Apostolic Christian beliefs. Davis also held Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear responsible for her legal problems and filed a lawsuit against him over the issue.
Beshear had sent a directive to Kentucky’s 120 county clerks telling them to issue licenses to same-sex couples, after the Supreme Court’s ruling. Davis argued in a court filing, that the directive forced her to defy the court order and spend jail time. Beshear has twice requested a judge to dismiss the suit.