Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk who has made headlines for refusing to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite a Supreme Court ruling compelling all municipalities in the United States to do so, was arrested and jailed Thursday for her actions, and her mugshot quickly made its way online. Davis was seen being taken into custody after her hearing at the federal courthouse in Ashland Thursday and was ordered to remain in jail until she agrees to comply with an order to issue marriage licenses.
Five of the six deputy clerks who served under Davis said they were willing to issue the licenses, making Davis' contempt of court charge potentially unnecessary. However, Davis reportedly said she would rather stay in jail than consent to her deputies granting the licenses to gay couples.
— Josh Breslow (@JoshBreslowWLEX) September 3, 2015
Davis had argued the Supreme Court order to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples infringed on her religious beliefs, the New York Times reported. But after a hearing, U.S. District Judge David L. Bunningdisagreed and ordered Davis be sent to jail. “The court cannot condone the willful disobedience of its lawfully issued order,” Bunning said. “If you give people the opportunity to choose which orders they follow, that’s what potentially causes problems.”
The Kentucky chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a contempt of court motion against Davis Tuesday. “Despite plaintiffs’ attempts to point out Davis’ stay requests had been denied, the deputy clerk reiterated the refusal. Plaintiffs’ additional request to speak with Kim Davis was denied,” the ACLU said in court documents.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear Thursday weighed in on the issue, saying in a statement Davis' ongoing battle against issuing the licenses was "a matter between [Davis] and the courts." Beshear added he has "no legal authority to relieve [clerks] of their statutory duty by executive order."
— Jacob Payne (@cattleprod) September 3, 2015
Beshear wasn't the only politician to issue a statement about Davis' situation. Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul, who is also a senator from Kentucky, said it was “absurd to put someone in jail for exercising their religious liberties,” the New York Times reported. Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas who is also running for president as a Republican, said putting Davis in jail “removes all doubt of the criminalization of Christianity in our country.”
“We must defend religious liberty and never surrender to judicial tyranny,” said Huckabee, adding, “The Supreme Court is not the supreme branch, and it’s certainly not the supreme being.”