Kentucky clerk seeks Supreme Court help to deny gay marriage licenses

Aug 31, 2015

Mike Wynn, The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal.

By Steve Bittenbender

A Kentucky county clerk petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday for an emergency order allowing her to continue to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a move coming two days after a federal appeals court rejected her request.

In a related move, a federal judge refused to extend a stay of his own ruling requiring the clerk to furnish marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples while she appealed on the grounds that her religious faith overrides her duties as a public servant.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning said earlier in August that Kim Davis had to live up to her responsibilities as the Rowland County clerk despite her religious convictions, and he issued a preliminary injunction requiring her to issue marriage licenses.

Bunning put his order on hold through Aug. 31 to give Davis an opportunity to ask the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for a longer stay, which the appellate court denied on Wednesday. The circuit court found Davis had little chance of prevailing on the merits of her case.

Davis contends that to approve marriage licenses for same-sex applicants would violate her deeply held religious belief that matrimony is between one man and one woman.

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17 comments on “Kentucky clerk seeks Supreme Court help to deny gay marriage licenses

  • Why among all of this has no Christian been called on to demonstrate that their religion defines marriage as being between one man and one woman?* To the best of my knowledge** the bible certainly does not say that, being wholly in favour of polygamy (in the form of one man, as many women as he likes and they really don’t have a say in the matter being basically property). Nor does it say anything explicitly against two men marrying, being only concerned with what they do in bed. As for lesbians…I don’t believe they’re mentioned at all.

    The next time one of these Christians comes to court they should be forced to prove the basis of their claim, not just have it taken as read.

    *Maybe it has been and I just don’t know.
    **Do correct me if I’m wrong.

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  • @OP – Davis contends that to approve marriage licenses for same-sex applicants would violate her deeply held religious belief that matrimony is between one man and one woman.

    Then she will just have to confront her ignorant bigotry, learn something from the experience, and either do the public service job she is being paid for, or quit.

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  • I’m very sympathetic to her cause. After all, if she is forced to issue licenses for gay marriages — which is clearly identified in the bible as a sin against God — what’s next? Issuing licenses for people who got divorced from their previous spouses? Issuing licenses for people who had sex outside of marriage? Issuing licenses to people who plan to get married on the Sabbath? Issuing license for people who didn’t honor their parents? Issuing licenses for people who don’t love the Lord their God with all their heart, and with all their soul, and with all their mind, or who don’t love their neighbor as themselves? Issuing licenses to people who eat shellfish or wear cloth containing more than one fabric?

    Where with the madness end? What about the children? Why isn’t anybody thinking of the children???

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  • I wonder who’s funding her legal petitions? I’ll bet there’s a cabal of fundamentalist nutters in the background somewhere using their money on her case to try and stem the onward march of sanity wherever it conflicts with their religious dogma.

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  • Ted Bundy never had any trouble getting married, and he was a convicted kidnapper and serial murderer on trial for raping and murdering a twelve year old child at the time.

    Oh, wait…he was heterosexual.

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  • I disagree. It is no part of the State’s role, to involve itself in theological disputes. Leave that to the believers, don’t involve Government in their squabbles

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  • who’s funding her legal petitions

    Don’t know about hard cash flow, but as I predicted, Liberty Council is representing her. Founder Matthew, it seems, is the ambulance chaser of the Christian World. Here he comes to save the Day!

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  • ISIS/ISIL/IS believes in ‘kill the unbeliever’. in this type of instance I think we all, including government and the judiciary, need to be involved in the theological dispute.

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  • How can a non-believer argue the merits of theological or scriptural exegeses, when he/she does not believe in the divine, the spirit, or the sacred origin of the text? What could the discussion amount to? By arguing about scriptural interpretation, or any other moral or political doctrines of a faith, you merely give it credence: at this point your Jesuit-trained debater always stops you and says, “Oh, so you do believe in it after all!” It’s just none of our business – our job is to show that belief itself is irrational.

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  • Arkrid Sandwich
    Sep 1, 2015 at 11:33 pm

    Oh dear. I clicked on your link and read it and now I’m feeling slightly queasy.

    It sounds like a set of off-shoots from “Liberty University”. That Young Earth Creationist establishment, which requires a “Christian commitment” from its students, cannot recruit competent biologists for its proposed pseudo-science courses, takes liberties with scientific facts and theories, and runs approved graduate degree courses in among other things – LAW!!!!

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  • That’s another thing I’ve never understood. Law is a subject that relies wholly on evidence and precedent and would seem to be entirely at odds with the xtian way of thinking and yet many of the most deeply disturbed woo mongers seem to have legal qualifications. The head of the Westboro Baptist Church was a lawyer as were a bunch of his progeny and they represented themselves in court right the way up to the Supreme Court.

    It utterly baffles me how someone can study a logic based subject with any success and still fail to see the lack of logic or evidence for their religious beliefs. Especially when those beliefs amount primarily to little more than “it’s all the fault of the gays, God hates fags”.

    I can (barely) understand how the really thick and poorly educated can swallow the nonsense their religious parents rammed down their throats as kids but not how anyone with an IQ of even moderate proportion and a decent education can do the same.

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  • There is quite a lot of background information on Wiki.

    Following the ruling, eighteen counties, all in Alabama, Kentucky, and Texas, continued not to issue licenses to same-sex couples. Eleven in Alabama, as well as Rowan County, Kentucky decided to stop issuing marriage licenses altogether rather than issue them to same-sex couples.[14][15] In August 2015, Davis refused to follow a court order requiring her to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She refused on grounds of religious freedom, stating that she was acting “under God’s authority”.[2] The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky and The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that she must issue marriage licenses. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the matter, ordering Davis to follow the lower court’s ruling. She again refused.

    Davis was ordered to appear with her six deputy clerks before a U.S. district court judge on September 3 in Ashland.[16] The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has asked the court to impose a fine on Davis rather than incarcerate her.[17] Following the court appearance, Davis was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals and will be jailed for contempt of court. She will remain incarcerated until she complies with the court’s order to issue marriage licenses.[7][8]

    Davis is represented by attorneys from Liberty Counsel, a right-wing group specializing in anti-gay litigation.[18]

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  • It seems that the licenses will now finally be issued unless the deputies want to join her in jail!

    The judge said he had “no alternative” but to jail her, because issuing fines would not change her mind.

    Which is approximately what I said earlier on the other “supreme-court-rules-against-kentucky-clerk” discussion.

    “Her good faith belief is simply not a viable defence,” said Mr Bunning. “Mrs Davis took an oath. Oaths mean things.”

    He added that letting one person’s beliefs supersede the authority of the court would be a dangerous example to set.

    Several people on this site have made that point in relation to discussions on faith exemptions from laws.

    Her six deputy clerks were told they may issue licenses to all marriage applicants and that they would also faces fines or jail if they refused to do so.

    Five out of six of them said they will issue marriage licenses to gay couples, except for Ms Davis’ son Nathan.

    Mummy’s job for her boy??? Let’ see if he joins her in a career as a jail-bird?

    Ms Davis’ lawyer had claimed that the deputy clerks could only issues licenses under Davis’ authority, but the judge overruled that objection.

    It seems “faith-thinking Liberty Lawyers”, are also into making up laws as they go along!
    Does anyone here really think that deputies cannot operate the law, because the “authority” of their boss, who has just been jailed for contempt of court, takes precedence over legal requirements, legal duties, and the directions of the court?

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