The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati denied a request Wednesday from a Kentucky court clerk to stay a federal injunction that called on her to provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Judges found that “it cannot be defensibly argued that the holder of the Rowan County Clerk’s Office, apart from who personally occupies that office, may decline to act in conformity with the United States Constitution,” especially after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. They said that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, whose office is in Moorehead, Ky., had little or no likelihood of prevailing on appeal in her official capacity.
Citing personal religious objections against gay marriage, Davis has denied licenses to all couples following the June Supreme Court ruling that cleared the way for same-sex marriage nationwide.
In testimony last month in federal court in Covington, Ky., Davis described herself as an Apostolic Christian who believes marriage is defined as the union of one man and one woman under the Bible — “God’s holy word” — and said she contemplated her policy for months.
The American Civil Liberties Union had sued her on behalf of two same-sex couples and two opposite-sex couples, alleging that Davis violated their constitutional rights when refusing to issue licenses.
The couples argued that they live, work and pay taxes in Rowan County, a county of about 24,000 residents halfway between Lexington, Ky., and Huntington, W.Va., and shouldn’t have to drive elsewhere to obtain the paperwork to get married.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning granted a preliminary injunction against Davis this month, finding that her religious convictions do not excuse her from performing official duties and upholding her oath of office. But it expires at the end of the month.
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SOURCE: USA Today / The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal – Mike Wynn