A federal judge has ordered Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear to decide whether gay marriage licenses issued by Rowan County clerk Kim Davis’ office were valid, the Associated Press reported Wednesday. A lawyer of one of Davis’ deputies said in a September court filing that Davis changed the forms by dropping her name as well as the county’s, weakening the legality of the licenses.
Terry Sebastian, a spokesman for the governor, said Wednesday that Kentucky recognized the licenses in question, the AP reported. Sebastian said Beshear will file a response and follow the court order. The judge’s order came a day after Davis’ lawyers maintained that the altered marriage licenses were valid because they were recognized by Beshear and Kentucky Attorney Gen. Jack Conway.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawyers asked U.S. District Judge David Bunning in September to order Davis and her office to reissue the marriage licenses following claims that the licenses were invalid. Davis’ lawyers said Tuesday the ACLU was trying to "needlessly create controversy where it does not currently exist."
The ACLU had also requested the judge to fine Davis or appoint someone else to issue the licenses. However, her lawyers said ACLU’s request was "extreme, unnecessary and improper."
The 50-year-old clerk landed in prison for five days in September after being found in contempt of court. Davis, an Apostolic Christian, had refused to issue marriage licenses to homosexuals on religious grounds.
Upon her release, a judge ordered Davis not to interfere with the work of her deputies who had started issuing licenses to homosexuals. But, according to a lawyer of one of the deputies, Davis invalidated the licenses by making drastic changes to the forms.
Davis also held Beshear responsible for her legal troubles and filed a lawsuit against him over the issue. After the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages across the U.S. in June, Beshear sent a directive to Kentucky’s 120 county clerks instructing them to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples. But, Davis said, in a court filing, the directive to abide by the Supreme Court’s decision forced her to disobey the court and go to jail. Beshear has twice requested a judge to dismiss the suit.