Saturday 10 December 2016

Kentucky clerk Kim Davis heads back to work amid new appeal over gay marriage

Steve Bittenbender

Published 14/09/2015 | 12:30

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, with Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, greeting crowds after being released from the Carter County Detention Center Credit: Timothy D. Easley
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, with Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, greeting crowds after being released from the Carter County Detention Center Credit: Timothy D. Easley

The county clerk from Kentucky who was jailed after refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples is expected to return to work.

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Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has said her beliefs as an Apostolic Christian prevent her from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and her attorneys have said the 49-year-old woman will not violate her conscience when she returns to work.

Davis's lawyer, Mathew Staver of the Liberty Counsel religious freedom organisation, hinted on Sunday at a possible resolution to a legal standoff between the clerk and the courts, saying Davis would be willing to process and file licenses if they did not bear her name.

"She is asking for something very simple, and that is just to accommodate her by removing her name and title off these certificates," Staver said on CNN on Sunday. He said Kentucky's governor had authority to change the licenses.

In her absence, deputy clerks have been issuing licenses and have said they would continue to do so.

The issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Kentucky and other states has become the latest focal point in the long-running debate over gay marriage that has continued after a US Supreme Court ruling in June that extended the practice across the United States.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis Credit: Timothy D. Easley
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis Credit: Timothy D. Easley

U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered Davis jailed for contempt on Sept. 3 for refusing to comply with his order to issue licenses in line with the Supreme Court ruling. He ordered her released five days later when the licenses were being issued by deputy clerks.

In his release order, Bunning warned Davis there would be consequences if she interfered with the issuance of marriage licenses, directly or indirectly, when she returned to work.

Davis walked out of the Carter County Detention Center last Tuesday to a roaring crowd of supporters and some detractors.

Her supporters continued protests last week after her release, demanding the firing of deputy clerks who provide marriage licenses without her permission.

On Friday, Davis asked the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to allow her to continue banning marriage licenses for her entire office until a lawsuit against her is decided.

In the motion before the appeals court, Davis' attorneys argued that Bunning's initial order had only covered couples who were suing her.

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