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KY Clerk Ordered to Jail over Gay Marriage Licenses

09-02-2015
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A federal judge has ordered a defiant Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis to jail after she refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning told Davis she would be jailed until she complied with his order to issue the licenses.

Davis said "thank you" before she was led out of the courtroom by a U.S. marshal. She was not in handcuffs.

Earlier, Davis had filed an emergency motion to stop the governor from ordering her to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

Davis says issuing those licenses would violate her beliefs and, she argues, God's authority trumps even the Supreme Court.

Is the judge justified putting her in custody? Ryan Anderson, author of Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, answered this question and more.

Police are now guarding the Rowan County clerk's office, making sure order is maintained. Tempers are flaring from people on both sides of the gay marriage issue.

Davis' supporters say federal courts have violated her First Amendment rights.

"I'm here for religious freedom because it's been stripped away," supporter Serena Smith said.

At the heart of the controversy is disagreement over belief. Davis, a Democrat, refuses to issue marriage licenses to anyone at this time, including homosexual couples.

"We're here to get our marriage license," a gay couple recently told her.

"So, presently we are not issuing marriage license pending an appeal to the system," Davis replied.

Davis is now asking a U.S. district court judge to block an order from the Kentucky governor requiring county clerks to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

She's set to appear before another judge at a contempt-of-court hearing. Davis could face jail time or at least a major fine for refusing to issue the licenses.

Same-sex couples have been challenging Davis all week.

"Under whose authority are you not issuing licenses?" one gay couple asked her.

"Under God's authority," she responded.

Davis says her religious convictions prevent her from signing the licenses. She proposes that other Rowan County officials sign them instead.

Some Republican presidential candidates have weighed in.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul suggests governments get out of the marriage license issuing business. He proposes all couples, heterosexual and homosexual, sign marriage contracts that could be used instead of licenses.

But other candidates, like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, say government employees must comply with the rule of law or resign.

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers, a Republican, has also weighed in. Stivers is asking the federal judge to withhold a ruling on the governor's order until the state passes a new marriage law. The state legislature will not be in session again until January.

Kentucky law, like many other states, must be revised after the Supreme Court's decision in June to legalize same-sex marriage in the United States.

"The Supreme Court ruling has completely obliterated the definition of marriage and the process for obtaining a marriage license in Kentucky," Stivers said in a press release. "The General Assembly will be compelled to amend many sections of Kentucky law, not just for the issuance of marriage licenses, to comply with the recent Supreme Court decision."

Meanwhile, Davis insists she's ready to suffer the consequences rather than compromise her beliefs.

"I'm willing to face my consequences," she told her critics. "And you all will face your consequences when it comes time for judgment."

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