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The Latest: Attorney for clerk says decision unprecedented
The Associated Press
Sep. 03, 2015
ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) — The latest on the county clerk in Kentucky who has refused to issue marriage licenses since the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage (all times local):
An attorney for a Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples says the decision is unprecedented.
Attorney Roger Gannam said Thursday that it is "the first time in history an American citizen has been incarcerated for having the belief of conscience that marriage is a union between one man and one woman."
A judge ordered Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to jail, saying her religious beliefs don't allow her to disobey the law.
Davis told the judge that "God's moral law" conflicts with her job duties.
An attorney for the couples who sued Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis over her refusal to issue marriage licenses says she "holds the keys to her jail cell."
Attorney Laura Landenwich made the comments Thursday outside the courthouse after a judge jailed Davis for contempt of court. Davis has refused to follow the judge's order to issue the licenses.
Davis' attorney Roger Gannam said that this is the first time in history that an American has been jailed for believing in their conscience.
Five of the six deputy clerks told U.S. District Judge David Bunning that will hand out marriage licenses to gay couples beginning Friday. The lone holdout is Davis' son.
A defiant county clerk in Kentucky who has refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples says she will not accept a compromise that would have let her out of jail.
Attorneys for gay couples had proposed that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis be let out of custody if she promised not to interfere with her deputies, but the clerk refused.
Five of the six deputies have told U.S. District Judge David Bunning that that they will issue the licenses, though some of them said they were reluctant to do so.
The lone holdout is Davis' son. The judge says he won't face any fine or jail time since the other deputies have agreed to issue the licenses.
The White House says no one is above the law, including a Kentucky county clerk who was sent to jail for contempt after refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
President Barack Obama has yet to express his views on the matter, but White House press secretary Josh Earnest says "on principle, that the success of our democracy depends on the rule of law, and there's no public official that is above the rule of law."
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was jailed Thursday when she refused to comply with a federal judge's order to issue marriage licenses.
Earnest added, "what's important ... is that this is the decision that's supposed to be made by a federal judge, and so I would not, from this vantage point, second guess those decisions."
Five of six deputy clerks in a Kentucky county say they'll issue marriage licenses to gay couples despite their boss's defiance, but some are reluctant and emotional about the decision.
Deputy clerk Melissa Thompson told U.S. District Judge David Bunning that she doesn't really want to, but she will comply with the law.
She wept and said: "I'm a preacher's daughter, and this is the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life."
And an attorney for deputy clerk Kristie Plank says she's reluctant but will issues the licenses. The attorney cites Plank's 11-year-old child and financial and family obligations, saying she can't go to jail.
Their boss, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, is being held in jail because she won't obey court orders and issue licenses, citing her Christian beliefs about gay marriage.
Five of the six deputy clerks in a Kentucky county say they will issue marriage licenses to gay couples, despite their boss's refusal to do so.
The lone holdout among the deputy clerk's is the clerk's son, Nathan. His mother was jailed earlier Thursday when she refused to follow U.S. District Judge David Bunning's order to hand out marriage licenses.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs have proposed releasing Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis out of custody if she agrees to not interfere with marriage licenses for gay couples.
The judge has agreed to the proposal and is now bringing Kim Davis back to the courtroom to see if she will agree.
(The version corrects that plaintiffs made the proposal, not attorneys for Davis)
One of the plaintiffs in the gay marriage case in Kentucky testified that she actually voted for the clerk who has refused to hand out marriage licenses.
April Miller, a professor at Morehead State, said the past two months have been pretty demoralizing for her and her partner. She was asked during a court hearing Thursday whether a license would validate her marriage.
"Yeah, that's what marriage is about - to show other people you are in a long-term relationship," she said. "It is legitimized."
She says when she went to get a license Tuesday, a deputy clerk told her she could go to a different county. Miller says that was kind of saying "we don't want gays or lesbians here. We don't think you are valuable."
A judge jailed Rowan County clerk Kim Davis on Thursday for refusing to issue marriage licenses.
The judge who jailed a Kentucky clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses says he didn't make the decision lightly.
In court on Thursday, U.S. District Judge David Bunning said he doesn't think Rowan County clerk Kim Davis is combative. She has refused to issues licenses because of her religious beliefs about gay marriage.
But, Bunning said, "Her good faith belief is simply not a viable defense."
Bunning also spoke of his own religious beliefs. But he said that the oath he took, and the oath Davis took, supersedes those beliefs.
Bunning also said that it's not his job or the court's job to write laws or make changes. But he noted that the legislative and executive branches can do so.
A federal judge says he didn't think fining a defiant Kentucky clerk would force her to comply with his order to issue marriage licenses.
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis says her supporters are raising funds for her, but she herself hasn't requested any money. Davis was jailed on Thursday.
Before that, she testified for about 20 minutes and said people are calling her office all the time wanting to send money.
She was asked if the county insurance would pay a fine, and she said: "I was told they would drop me like a hot potato."
The defiant Kentucky clerk has told a judge that she can't comply with an order to issue marriage licenses to gay couples because it would violate her conscience.
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was jailed Thursday after she refused to comply with U.S. District Judge David Bunning's order.
Davis testified for about 20 minutes and was very emotional. She talked about when she became a Christian.
"You can't be separated from something that's in your heart and in your soul," she told the judge.
After she was jailed, hundreds of people outside the courthouse started chanting and screaming, "Love won! Love won!"
A federal judge is warning deputy clerks in Kentucky that they must issue marriage licenses to gay couples or face fines or jail.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning already jailed Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis for refusing to comply with his order. She was led out of the courtroom by U.S. marshals on Thursday.
The judge gave the deputy clerks time to go meet with public defenders and said the hearing will resume at 1:45 p.m.
A federal judge has ordered a defiant Kentucky clerk to jail after she refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning told Rowan County Clerk Kim 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.
Davis has refused to issue marriages licenses for two months since the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. She argues that her Christian faith should exempt her from signing the licenses.
As hundreds of protesters gathered at the courthouse, there was no sign of the Kentucky clerk who was summoned to appear before a federal judge because she refuses to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
It's possible that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis used a gated entrance in the rear to enter the courthouse. She was ordered to appear before U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning at 11 a.m., but by that time, she had not entered through the front, where the crowds had gathered.
Davis faces the possibility of being held in contempt and could face hefty fines or even jail time.
A small plane flew over the courthouse, carrying a banner that said: "Stand Firm Kim." On the courthouse sidewalk, gay marriage supporters shouted "love is not a sin" while at least three preachers with bullhorns called them sinners.
Hundreds of protesters have filled the street in front of the federal courthouse in Ashland as they wait for a hearing to start on the gay marriage case in Kentucky.
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has defied federal court orders to hand out marriage licenses, saying her religious beliefs don't let her endorse same-sex marriage. A judge has ordered her to appear Thursday. If she continues to refuse to follow the law, she could be hit with fines or jail time.
The demonstrators outside are waving signs, chanting and singing hymns as they wait for Davis to arrive.
Signs ranged from the violent — turn to Jesus or burn — to simple statements of support. The hearing starts at 11 a.m. EDT.
A county clerk in Kentucky who has repeatedly defied court orders by refusing to issue marriage licenses will appear before a federal judge who could hold her in contempt of court.
Rowan County clerk Kim Davis has been summoned to the hearing at 11 a.m. Thursday before U.S. District Judge David Bunning. He's also ordered all of Davis' deputy clerks to appear. Bunning could hold Davis in contempt, which can carry hefty fines or jail time.
Davis stopped issuing licenses to all couples in June after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. Despite rulings against her, she's turned away couples again and again, citing her Christian beliefs and "God's authority."
The couples who originally sued in the case have asked Bunning to punish Davis with fines but not jail time.