Kentucky county clerks could face jail time for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses
A defiant Kentucky county clerk has vowed to uphold “nature’s law” and is refusing the governor’s order he comply with the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling or resign.
Casey County Clerk Casey Davis said he is not going to issue marriage licenses in the county to circumvent the landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 U.S. states.
“Nature’s law will supercede any law that man puts on a piece of paper,” he told reporters. “That’s why I’ve taken the stand that I have taken. I don’t agree that this lifestyle agrees with nature’s law.”
Davis met with Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear who had told him to do his job or resign. He has no plans to do either.
Another county clerk, Kim Davis, whose staff was caught on video mistreating a gay couple who had come to the clerk’s office requesting to get married, has also defied the Supreme Court ruling. She is facing a class action lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Casey Davis said he wants Gov. Beshear to hold a special legislative session to change Kentucky law so that local officials objecting to same-sex marriage are protected. Beshear has refused to do so, the Associated Press reports.
Beshear issued a statement this week directed at the defiant clerk, saying he swore to uphold the Constitution when he took office.
“One of Mr. Davis’ duties as county court clerk is to issue marriage licenses, and the Supreme court now says that the United States constitution requires those marriage licenses to be issued regardless of gender,” Beshear said.
On Monday, a judge will hear the class action case against Kim Davis where the religious freedom argument will be raised, the AP reports. The ACLU, representing two gay couples and two straight couples who were turned away because of Davis’ refusal, is seeking an injunction forcing her to issue the licenses.
If the ACLU prevails and the court issues an injunction and the clerks continue to defy it, they can be jailed, the AP reports. Removing them from office, however, would require impeachment by the state General Assembly, which the AP terms unlikely.
Casey Davis told reporters he is ready to go to jail.
“If that’s what it takes for me to express the freedom of religion that I believe I was born with, I’m willing to do that,” he said.
Beshear said the rest of the county clerks statewide are doing their jobs regardless of what their personal beliefs are,
“The courts and the voters will deal appropriately with the rest,” he told the AP.
Watch the report from local WDKY here: