Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

GAY MARRIAGE ; Clerk, Staff Summoned to Fed Court; Opposing Sides Face off at Kentucky Courthouse

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

GAY MARRIAGE ; Clerk, Staff Summoned to Fed Court; Opposing Sides Face off at Kentucky Courthouse

Article excerpt

MOREHEAD, Ky. - A county clerk who invoked "God's authority as she again defied the U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage Tuesday refused to resign and now must face a federal judge who could impose fines or send her to jail. Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis turned away several gay and lesbian couples who sought marriage licenses - some for a fifth time - even though the Supreme Court denied her last- ditch appeal the night before.

"To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God's definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision, Davis said in a statement read by her attorneys. "I was elected by the people to serve as the county clerk. I intend to continue to serve the people of Rowan County, but I cannot violate my conscience.

April Miller and Karen Roberts tried first, trailed by dozens of television cameras. A deputy clerk said no licenses would be issued and declined to make Davis available.

David Moore and David Ermold, a couple for 17 years, then came in, demanding to speak with Davis.

"Tell her to come out and face the people she's discriminating against! Ermold shouted.

"We're not leaving until we have a license, Ermold said after she came out and told them to leave.

"Then you're going to have a long day, the clerk replied.

Davis went back in, sheltered from questions and rival demonstrations.

"Praise the Lord! Stand your ground! her supporters shouted, while the other side called Davis a bigot and yelled: "Do your job!

Ordered to move to the courthouse lawn, each side tried to out- do the other with chanting, hymn-singing and sign-waving.

Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses in June, after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage across the nation.

Gay and straight couples sued, saying she should fulfill her duties despite her religious faith or step aside. U.S. District Judge David Bunning agreed and was upheld. Davis' Liberty Counsel lawyers then asked the Supreme Court for what they called "asylum for her conscience.

After the full court declined to intervene, removing any remaining legal ground for Davis' position, the couples decided to try again, only to be disappointed. …

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