Kim Davis has emerged into the spotlight for fighting against same-sex marriage and defying a June Supreme Court ruling that made gay marriage legal nationwide. Pictured: Same-sex marriage supporters rejoice after the U.S Supreme Court handed down a ruling regarding same-sex marriage, June 26, 2015, outside the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. Getty Images

Kim Davis, a small-town Kentucky courthouse clerk, has been launched into the national spotlight because of the continuing controversy surrounding same-sex marriage. Little was known about the clerk before Tuesday when she declined to issue marriage licenses to gay couples for religious reasons despite being refused an exemption from the Supreme Court.

Davis, who took office in January as an elected county clerk, followed in the footsteps of her mother, who had served in the same position for 37 years. She began making news this summer after she refused to adhere to the Supreme Court's landmark ruling in June that made same-sex marriage legal nationwide. She applied for an exemption to issuing the licenses because of her religious beliefs that homosexuality was a sin, and the Supreme Court denied her request Tuesday.

In defiance of the Supreme Court, Davis continued to deny marriage licenses to all people Tuesday, not just gay couples. When asked whose authority she was acting under, she responded "God's authority."

Davis has not always been so devout in her beliefs. By age 44, the now 49 year-old woman had been divorced three times and had two children out of wedlock, actions that go against the teachings of most Christian traditions.

She said she had a religious awakening four years ago, when she pledged her life to God, the Associated Press reported Wednesday. Since that fateful Sunday morning, when Davis heard a reading from the book of Galatians, she said she realized the error of her ways and has made marriage defense her battle.

"It is not a light issue for me, it is a heaven or hell decision. For me, it is a decision of obedience." she said, as reported by local Kentucky newspaper the Courier-Journal. "I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God's word."