First same-sex couple receives marriage license in Rowan County, Ky.

by Lynde Langdon
Posted 9/04/15, 09:30 am

UPDATE: A deputy clerk in Rowan County, Ky., issued the county’s first marriage license to a same-sex couple this morning as county clerk Kim Davis remained in jail. A crowd of supporters cheered as William Smith Jr. and James Yates left the courthouse this morning.

“I just want the licenses given out. I don’t want her in jail. No one wanted her in jail,” Yates said. Speaking to reporters Friday morning, Davis’ husband, Joe Davis said his wife was in good spirits after her first night in jail.

When asked if she would resign, he said, “Oh, God no. She’s not going to resign at all. It’s a matter of telling [U.S. District Judge David] Bunning he ain’t the boss.”

Bunning indicated he would revisit his decision after Kim Davis had remained in jail for at least a week. Davis said she hopes the Legislature will change Kentucky laws to find some way for her to keep her job while following her conscience. But state lawmakers will not convene again until January.

UPDATE (Sept. 3, 4:20 p.m.): Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk embroiled in a battle over same-sex marriage, rejected a proposal that would have let her out of jail. The plaintiffs who sued Davis suggested she be released if she agreed not to interfere with deputy clerks’ issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, but Davis refused.

UPDATE (Sept. 3, 3:40 p.m.): Five of the six deputy clerks in Rowan County, Ky., agreed to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, despite their boss’ refusal to do so. The only deputy clerk who held out was County Clerk Kim Davis’ son, Nathan.

The plaintiffs who sued Davis, who is in jail on contempt charges, have proposed letting her out if she promises to not interfere with marriage licenses for gay couples. The judge has agreed to the proposal and is bringing Davis back to the courtroom to see if she will agree.

OUR EARLIER STORY (Sept. 3, 1:28 p.m.): A judge has ordered Rowan County, Ky., Clerk Kim Davis to jail until she agrees to follow his order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. U.S. District Judge David Bunning held Davis in contempt of court for flouting his order, which stemmed from the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges earlier this summer.

After hearing testimony from Davis and a woman trying to obtain a marriage license, Bunning said his only alternative was to send Davis to jail because he did not believe she would comply with his order even if she were fined.

After having lost at the appellate level and having her case declined by the Supreme Court, Davis told Fox News before the hearing she was prepared to go to jail. 

“This has never been a gay or lesbian issue for me. This is about upholding the word of God,” she said. A U.S. marshal reportedly led Davis from the courtroom after the judge’s ruling.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court denied Davis’ request for an emergency stay of Bunning’s order. Davis returned to work the next morning, resolute.

“To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience,” she said.

Bunning summoned her to court this morning at the request of two same-sex couples whom Davis had denied marriage licenses.

Supporters of same-sex marriage now gather daily outside Davis’ office, chanting phrases such as, “Do your job.” Critics have shamed her for her own marital history, which includes three divorces. Davis converted to Christianity four years ago after granting her mother-in-law’s dying wish that she go to church.

“I am not perfect. No one is. But I am forgiven and I love my Lord and must be obedient to Him and to the Word of God,” Davis said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital’s managing editor and reports on popular and fine arts. She lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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