Attorneys for the Kentucky county clerk jailed for contempt for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples filed a notice of appeal Sunday with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. Kim Davis, the clerk for Rowan County, was jailed Thursday by U.S. District Judge David Bunning for refusing to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring same-sex marriage legal, despite requests by the plaintiffs in the case that she only be fined.
Attorney Mathew Staver of the Liberty Counsel, which is representing Davis, said Bunning's action violates Davis' right to due process, alleging the judge intended to jail her even before he heard arguments. Davis argued forcing her to issue marriage licenses to gay couples would violate her religious beliefs.
— Dan Griffin (@WSAZDanGriffin) September 7, 2015
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear noted last week emotions are running high on both sides of the issue, but he said he has no intention of calling a special session of the Legislature to address the actions of Davis and two other county clerks to consider legislation that would allow someone other than the county clerk to issue marriage licenses. "One-hundred-17 of 120 county clerks are doing their jobs," Beshear said. The Legislature does not meet again until January.
Davis has been in jail since Thursday. She is expected to remain incarcerated for at least a week if she continues to refuse to obey the court order. She turned down an offer of release if she agreed not to interfere with her deputy clerks issuing licenses.
Five of her six deputies agreed to issue licenses to same-sex couples and the first were given out Friday. Staver said, however, those licenses are "not worth the paper they are written on" because they lack Davis' approval, the Associated Press reported. State law requires elected county clerks to approve marriage licenses for them to be valid, the AP said. Davis said putting her stamp of approval on licenses for gay couples would be a sin.
“She’s not going to resign, she’s not going to sacrifice her conscience, so she’s doing what Martin Luther King Jr. wrote about in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail, which is to pay the consequences for her decision,” Staver said.