Updated as of 3:59 p.m. EDT:
Kim Davis said Thursday after she was taken to jail that she will not consent to her office issuing marriage licenses though some of her deputies said they would issue them, meaning she will remain in custody for contempt of court, an attorney for one of the couples who sued Davis for not giving them a marriage license tweeted Thursday. Davis reportedly said she would rather stay in jail than consent to her deputies giving licenses.
Updated as of 3:40 p.m. EDT:
Five of the six deputy clerks who served under Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis said they are willing to issue marriage licenses, making Davis' contempt of court charge that jailed her Thursday potentially unnecessary, according to local media. Federal District Judge David Bunning said the deputy clerks who indicated they are willing to follow the law is adequate means to dismiss the contempt charges against Davis, according to a tweet from reporters at Kentucky newspaper the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Five deputy clerks willing to follow the law seems adequate, Judge Bunning said. He won't hold Kim Davis' son, Nathan, in contempt. ^JC
— Bluegrass Politics (@BGPolitics) September 3, 2015
Kim Davis, the county clerk from Kentucky who has become a national symbol by refusing to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was found in contempt of court Thursday by a federal judge, local media reported. She was seen being taken into federal custody after her hearing at the federal courthouse in Ashland. She was ordered to jail until she agrees to comply with an order to issue marriage licenses.
Protesters and supporters of Davis began gathering at the courthouse around 4:30 a.m., more than six hours before her scheduled court appearance at 11. Many had been rallying for weeks at the Rowan County Courthouse where Davis works.
Some supporters of Davis read passages from the Bible outside the courthouse Thursday morning, while other's held signs with sayings such as "Repent America," the Courier-Journal of Louisville reported. Other demonstrators had signs reading “Got AIDS Yet? Jesus Saves,” media outlets reported.
— Dan Griffin (@WSAZDanGriffin) September 3, 2015
"If we want to live like Sodom and Gomorrah, God will punish us like Sodom and Gomorrah," one man in the crowd of demonstrators said, as quoted by USA Today.
— Sonia Moghe (@soniamoghe) September 3, 2015
Same-sex marriage supporters also were demonstrating Thursday, holding up signs with slogans like "Your religion is not the law of this land."
— Darin Scherer (@DarinScherer) September 3, 2015
— ACLU of Kentucky (@ACLUofKY) September 3, 2015
Davis was required to appear in court Thursday to argue why she shouldn’t be held in contempt of court for defying a U.S. Supreme Court order to give same-sex couples marriage licenses. Her attorney’s filed motions before the hearing saying she should not be held in contempt because issuing marriage licenses would violate her conscience, and that it conflicts with her religious definition of marriage. She argues that both the Kentucky and U.S. Constitutions should protect her religious liberty.
The American Civil Liberties Union argued in a motion filed Monday that it wanted Davis to be fined, saying she still collects compensation from the commonwealth even though she is not performing one of the duties she was elected to do. Following in her mother’s footsteps as the Rowan County clerk, Davis took office in January, the New York Times reported.
But state Senate President Robert Stivers, a Republican, had asked the judge to not rule on whether Davis was in contempt of court until the Legislature meets to clarify Kentucky's marriage laws. He has said he will support a law that would require clerks only to record marriage licenses, not issue them, which should eliminate Davis' conflict, the Courier-Journal reported.
Davis' attorneys also argued in court filings that other measures besides holding her in contempt could have a similar effect, the Courier-Journal reported. Some of these measures could be allowing someone who is not the clerk to sign marriage licenses or letting the state issue marriage licenses.
Anti-gay demonstrators passing out these booklets pic.twitter.com/fw1GoKgNF3
— Chris Kenning (@ckenning_cj) September 3, 2015
Davis became known in June when she refused to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling that same-sex marriage is a national right. She had applied for an exemption to issuing marriage licenses based on religious grounds, but the Supreme Court refused. Davis continued to deny people marriage licenses even after the exemption denial, but she has now refused to give marriage licenses to anybody, heterosexuals included.
— Bobby Blaze Smedley (@bobbyblaze744) September 3, 2015
Davis was not very religious until about four years ago when she had a religious awakening, the Associated Press reported. She had been divorced three times and had two children out of wedlock before she was 44 years old. Davis went to church to fulfill her mother’s dying wish.
— The 405 Media (@The405radio) September 2, 2015
“There, I heard a message of grace and forgiveness and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ," Davis said in a statement through her lawyers.
Because she is an elected official, Davis could only be removed from her office by impeachment, which would require the Kentucky House of Representatives to charge her with an impeachable offense and for the Senate to try her, the USA Today reported.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) September 2, 2015