Kim Davis Assailed for Marriage License Tampering

     (CN) – The marriage licenses that embattled Kentucky court clerk Kim Davis has issued gay couples to keep herself out of jail contain alterations that call their validity into question, the ACLU claims.
     The American Civil Liberties Union says it has obtained a copy of a marriage license from the Rowan County Clerk’s Office where Davis presides. It says Davis eliminated any mention of Rowan County and changed the forms to state that they are issued pursuant to a federal court order.
     “Davis’ decision to significantly interfere with the marriage licenses being issued as of this court’s September 8 order not only violates the court’s clear directive, but it also has resulted in material alterations to those licenses that render their validity questionable at best,” according a motion the ACLU filed Monday.
     On Sept. 8, U.S. District Judge David Bunning freed Davis from a five-day jail stint, having held her in contempt for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
     The three-time divorcee contends that same-sex marriage violates her Christian beliefs, but Judge Bunning freed Davis on the basis of the licenses that her deputies were issuing to couples in her absence.
     “If defendant Davis should interfere in any way with their issuance, that will be considered a violation of this order and appropriate sanctions will be considered,” Bunning’s Sept. 8 decision says.
     Equal licensing did not last long, however, once Davis returned to work on Sept. 14, the ACLU contends.
     “Rather than standing aside while deputy clerk [Brian] Mason issued the same marriage licenses upon which this court relied in its September 8 order lifting the civil contempt finding and releasing her from custody, Davis ‘confiscated all the original forms, and provided a changed form which deletes all mentions of the county, fills in one of the blanks that would otherwise be the county with the court’s styling, deletes her name, deletes all of the deputy clerk references, and in place of deputy clerk types in the name of Brian Mason, and has him initial rather than sign,'” the 13-page motion states, citing a report filed by Mason.
     The group says that Davis’ altered marriage licenses “create a two-tier system of marriage licenses” in Kentucky, and sends the message “that LGBT people are second-class citizens unworthy of official recognition and authorization.”
     The ACLU wants Rowan County deputy clerks to resume issuing marriage licenses in the way they were issued on or before Sept. 8, and to ignore any instructions from Davis that would result in the improper issuance of marriage licenses.
     The group also says the altered licenses should be reissued, and Davis should be fined if she continues to change them.
     “Should Davis again violate this court’s order, she will have unfailingly demonstrated that the usual remedies for securing compliance are simply inadequate and that a receivership is an appropriate remedy pending her obedience, which may be induced via coercive civil monetary fines as appropriate and necessary,” the motion states.
     James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT Project, said Davis’ office needs to issue valid marriage licenses.
     “It’s sad that Ms. Davis has continued to interfere with the basic constitutional right of all loving couples to marry and that the plaintiff couples have to ask the court to intervene once again,” Esseks said in a statement.
     When Davis was released from jail Sept. 8, she was joined at a rally by Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee. She took the stage in tears, with “Eye of the Tiger” playing the background, as she thanked a crowd of supporters.
     “I just want to give God the glory,” Davis said. “His people have rallied and you are a strong people. We serve a living God who knows exactly where each and every one of us is at. Just keep on pressing. Don’t let down, because He is here. He’s worthy. I love you guys. Thank you so much.”
     Huckabee meanwhile told supporters at the rally that he would also go to jail for someone who stands up for the biblical definition of marriage.
     “Lock me up if you think that’s how freedom is best served,” Huckabee said before introducing Davis.

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