Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear’s attorneys said Rowan County clerk Kim Davis’ arguments for not issuing gay marriage licenses on religious grounds were “absurd,” “obtuse” and “forlorn,” the Associated Press (AP) reported Thursday, citing a court document. Davis' stance on same-sex marriage licenses landed her in jail for five days after being found in contempt of court last month.
On Sept. 24, Davis filed a lawsuit against Beshear blaming him for her legal woes. After the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage across the country in June, Beshear sent a letter to Kentucky’s 120 county clerks instructing them to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Davis said that his directives to abide by the Supreme Court’s decision forced her to defy the court and spend prison time. However, on Tuesday, Beshear requested a judge again to dismiss the suit.
"Simply stated, Davis' role is a legal one -- not a moral or religious one," Beshear's attorneys wrote in the court document, AP reported.
Beshear's lawyer, Palmer G. Vance, deemed Davis' legal trouble a "meritless assault on the rule of law." According to Vance, Davis would have had to follow the Supreme Court and other court orders to issue gay marriage licenses even if Beshear had not sent the clerks the directive.
"At issue here are marriage licenses issued by the Office of Rowan County Clerk and not Kim Davis individually, as Kim Davis individually has no authority to issue such licenses," Vance reportedly wrote in the filing. "The Office of Rowan County Clerk does not have a right to free exercise of religion."
U.S. District Judge David Bunning is expected announce the verdict on Davis' lawsuit against the governor soon.
Davis has also been accused of interfering with the issuance of marriage licenses after she returned to work early September. Richard Hughes, a lawyer for one of Davis’ deputies, said in a court filing on Sept. 18 that the Rowan County clerk violated a federal court order by making significant changes to marriage license forms that could weaken their legality.