Kentucky clerk asks Supreme Court to intervene in same-sex marriage case

29 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Citing religious freedom, Kentucky clerk asks Supreme Court to intervene in gay marriage case.

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Two months after it legalized gay marriage nationwide, the U.S. Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis is seeking “asylum for her conscience,” her lawyers with the Orlando-based law firm Liberty Counsel wrote in their emergency application to stay enforcement of a federal court ruling requiring the county to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

District Court in Covington, Ky., after Judge David Bunning ruled that her religious convictions do not excuse her from performing official duties and upholding her oath of office. To simultaneously hem against legal action and issuing gay marriage licenses, the courthouse has stopped giving out licenses altogether, The Courier-Journal reports. “We should be celebrating right now, enjoying our lives together and enjoying the fact that we could spend our lives together and have it recognized by our country,” Smith told The Courier Journal. “Now we are just kind of on nerves.” U.S. She has refused to issue licenses to all couples since the June Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage, and on Wednesday the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to stay Bunning’s injunction against Davis.

The Supreme Court says the constitution guarantees gay people have the right to marry, but Davis contends the First Amendment guarantees her the right of religious freedom. Two gay couples and two straight couples sued her, arguing that she must fulfill her duties as an elected official despite her personal Christian conviction. On Thursday, James Yates and William Smith Jr., a couple of nearly 10 years, left the Rowan County Courthouse frustrated and angry after staff refused them a marriage license for a third time in recent weeks.

He compared it to forcing a person who objects to war into the battlefield, or forcing a person who opposes capital punishment to carry out an execution. “That searing act of personal validation would forever, and irreversibly, echo in her conscience — and, if it happened, there is no absolution or correction that any earthly court can provide to rectify it,” he wrote. Kagan could reject it outright in a matter of days, or she could ask the couples’ attorneys to file a response and refer it to court for review. “We’ve already had four federal judges speak very clearly on this particular issue, and I don’t anticipate the response from Justice Kagan is going to be any different,” Canon said. “Each time we get an opinion on this case, it’s a reaffirmation of what is a core tenant of American democracy: an elected politician can’t govern an entire county according to his or her own private religious beliefs.

They have to follow the law.” University of Louisville law professor Sam Marcosson said he believes Kagan will deny Davis, and the question will quickly become what the clerk will decide to do under threat of a contempt of court charge, which can carry steep fines or jail time. And some of them have waited an entire lifetime to get married, so it is very sad.” Two other clerks in Kentucky also are denying licenses, including Casey County Clerk Casey Davis, who announced Thursday that he is riding a bicycle across Kentucky — from Pikeville to Paducah — to show support for Kim Davis. The judge could then order hefty fines or even put her in jail until she complies with the order. “This has been an emotional roller coaster for our clients,” Canon said. “We’ve won every step of the way.

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