Day of Reckoning for|Ky. Clerk on Gay Marriage

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The clerk in Kentucky who refuses to issue marriage licenses to gay couples continued to do so on Tuesday, ignoring an order from the Supreme Court.
     Rowan County clerk Kim Davis faces a federal injunction for contravening the Supreme Court’s recent holding in Obergefell v. Hodges, which struck down laws banning gay marriage in a handful of states across the country.
     The stay that U.S. District Judge David Bunning gave Davis against his injunction expired Monday, and the Supreme Court shot Davis down without comment late that evening.
     Davis turned away two same-sex couples Tuesday morning, saying she was acting “under God’s authority,” according to an Associated Press and NBC News report. Protesters chanted “Do your job!” while Davis supporters reportedly shouted “Praise the Lord!” and “Stand your ground!”
     Later Tuesday morning, the American Civil Liberties Union filed two motions to hold Davis in contempt. An Eastern Kentucky district court set a hearing for Thursday, at which Davis will have to answer to a federal judge and could face fines, according to the ACLU.
     ACLU legal director Steven Shapiro said in a statement that public officials are supposed to enforce the law, not place themselves above it.
     “It is unfortunate that we’ve been compelled to take further action today to ensure that the people of Rowan County can obtain the marriage licenses they’re entitled to receive from their county clerk’s office. The law is clear and the courts have spoken,” Shapiro said.
     Davis issued a statement Tuesday through Liberty Counsel, saying she has done her job well and intends to continue working as county clerk.
     “I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage,” Davis said. “To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision.”
     Citing her status as a “devout Christian,” Davis told the high court in her application for a stay last week that “she has never once raised a religious conscience objection to performing a function in the county clerk’s office, until now.”
     “If a SSM license is issued with Davis’ name, authorization, and approval, no one can unring that bell,” her application said, abbreviating same-sex marriage. “That searing act of validation would forever echo in her conscience. And yet, the SSM Mandate demands that she either fall in line (her conscience be damned) or leave office (her livelihood and job for three-decades in the clerk’s office be damned). If Davis’ religious objection cannot be accommodated when Kentucky marriage licenses are available in more than 130 marriage licensing locations, and many other less restrictive alternatives remain available, then elected officials have no real religious freedom when they take public office. But such individual rights and freedoms so fundamental to liberty are neither absolutely surrendered at the entry door of public service nor waived upon taking an oath of office. To suggest otherwise creates a religious (or anti-religious) test for holding office – which the United States and Kentucky Constitutions expressly forbid.” (Parentheses in original.)

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