A Kentucky clerk said she will not stop deputies from issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples, but added that she will not authorise the licences and questioned their validity.
It was Rowan County clerk Kim Davis’ first day back in the office, after five days in jail for defying a federal judge.
“I don’t want to have this conflict. I don’t want to be in the spotlight. And I certainly don’t want to be a whipping post,” Davis said, reading from a hand-written statement, outside the courthouse where she works.
“I am no hero. I’m just a person that’s been transformed by the grace of God, who wants to work, be with my family. I just want to serve my neighbours quietly, without violating my conscience.”
Davis, an apostolic Christian, stopped issuing licences after the Supreme Court effectively legalised gay marriage. US District Judge David Bunning held her in contempt and ordered her to jail.
In her absence, her deputies issued seven licences to gay couples and altered the forms to exclude Davis’ name.
The deputy clerk who issued the licenses, Brian Mason, said they would continue to issue the licences, despite his boss’s objections.
The governor, the attorney general, and the county attorney have said the licences are valid. Only Davis and her attorneys claim otherwise.
Davis, who believes gay marriage is a sin and who is thrice-divorced, became a hero to conservative Christians after she stopped issuing the licenses.
On Friday, Davis’ attorneys filed an appeal seeking another delay in issuing licences. In their motion to the Sixth Circuit US Court of Appeals, her attorneys argued that all the same-sex couples who sued Davis for a license received one from her deputies while she was in jail.
Therefore, they said, her office should not be required to issue them to any more couples, once she returns to work. Bunning wrote that his mandate to issue licenses applied to all couples, not only those who filed suit.
But Davis’ lawyers allege that the order was issued improperly, and again have asked for a delay.
The tension in Rowan County reached fever pitch last week, as protesters, presidential candidates and news crews descended on the small town of Morehead.
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