US clerk in gay wedding licences row appeals jail order

US clerk in gay wedding licences row appeals jail order

A county clerk has appealed a judge’s decision to put her in jail for refusing to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples.

Attorneys for Kim Davis officially appealed the ruling on Sunday. The three-page motion does not include arguments as to why Davis should be released, but amends Davis’ earlier appeal of the judge’s order.

Davis objects to same-sex marriage for religious reasons and stopped issuing all marriage licences in June after the US Supreme Court legalised gay marriage nationwide.

Two gay couples and two straight couples sued her. US District Judge David Bunning ordered Davis to issue the licences and the Supreme Court upheld his ruling.

But Davis still refused to do it, unlike the vast majority of officials around the US, saying she could not betray her conscience.

On Thursday, Judge Bunning ruled Davis was in contempt of court for disobeying his order and sent her to jail. Her deputy clerks then issued marriage licences to gay couples on Friday with Davis behind bars.

“Civil rights are civil rights and they are not subject to belief,” said James Yates, who got a marriage licence on Friday after five previous denials.

Mat Staver, one of Davis’ attorneys, said the marriage licences issued on Friday are “not worth the paper they are written on” because Davis refused to authorise them.

But Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins says the licences are valid. Judge Bunning said he did not know if the licences were valid but ordered them issued anyway.

Judge Bunning indicated Davis will be in jail for at least a week. She could stay longer if she continues to not obey the judge’s order.

Judge Bunning had offered to release Davis from jail if she promised not to interfere with her deputy clerks as they issued the licences. But Davis refused.

Kentucky law requires marriage licences be issued under the authority of the elected county clerk. Davis views issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples as a stamp of approval of something she believes is a sin.

She has said she will not issue marriage licences until the state legislature changes the law so the licences can be issued under someone else’s authority.

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