The federal judge who threw Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis into jail last year for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples said she had not interfered with the process since her release and that licenses with her name removed should still be valid.
U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning ruled late on Tuesday that Rowan County’s Davis, who spent five days in jail last September for her stand on marriage licenses for gay couples, had not interfered with her deputies’ issuing the licenses.
When she returned to work, Davis removed her name, title and personal authorization from the licenses.
“There was every reason to believe” the forms she altered would be deemed valid by state officials, Bunning said, adding that the court would continue to monitor Davis and her office.
Citing her beliefs as an Apostolic Christian, Davis, 50, drew national attention for her refusal to issue any licenses after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June made gay marriage legal across the nation. Homosexual and heterosexual couples subsequently sued her, and her jailing drew international attention and demonstrations from both sides of the issue.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the couples suing Davis, had said she made material changes to the marriage forms, which put her out of compliance with Bunning’s orders to issue the licenses as part of her job. ACLU lawyers had asked for Davis to be held in contempt and her office to be put in receivership.
ACLU lawyer Ria Mar said Bunning’s ruling could not be appealed, and it is for a state court to decide the validity of the altered licenses.
“The bottom line is that all loving couples in Rowan County can now receive marriage licenses, and we’ll continue to fight to ensure that remains the case,” she said.
Davis’s lawyers had said she had taken reasonable steps to comply with the judge’s orders and should not face further contempt citations.
“From the beginning we have said the ACLU is not interested in marriage licenses,” said Davis’ lawyer Mat Staver. “They want Kim Davis’ scalp.”
Kentucky’s attorney general previously said the altered licenses were valid. In December, newly elected Republican Governor Matt Blevin ordered count clerks’ names removed from marriage license forms to honor people’s religious beliefs.
(Reporting by Steve Bittenbender in Louisville; Writing by Ben Klayman; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)
Fox News hires former Trump spokesman as Senior Vice President: report
The revolving door between the White House and Fox News was spinning on Friday as a former spokesman for President Donald Trump was hired by Fox News.
"A bit of news: Raj Shah, the former spokesman in the White House, is joining Fox as a senior Vice President," Washington Post White House correspondent Josh Dawsey reported on Friday.
After Hope Hicks left her job as White House communications director, she was hired to lead corporate communications for New Fox, the parent company of Fox News.
Here’s why President Trump’s explicit racism is an impeachable offense
Without even waiting for former special counsel Robert Mueller to testify about President Donald Trump's obstruction of justice, Democrats are legally justified in acting now to impeach the president for his explicit racism, a civil rights activist argued on Friday.
Journalist and author Shaun King laid out his argument in a column published by The Intercept.
To make his argument, King explained the difference between implicit and explicit racism.
"Across the country, corporations and government agencies, including police departments, are offering a wave of what’s called 'implicit bias training.' The fundamental theory is that, in this country, otherwise well-meaning employees can be racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or xenophobic in ways that they may not really even be aware of," he explained. "It’s the notion that people unknowingly or unconsciously discriminate against others."
Watch Joy Reid’s epic correction of GOP strategist: ‘This is going to be a white nationalist reelection’
President Donald Trump will continue to attack the four young women of color in Congress known as The Squad, MSNBC anchor Joy Reid predicted on Friday.
Trump has repeatedly used racist attacks to target the four, who are Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).
Host Steve Kornacki interviewed Republican strategist Noelle Nikpour about Trump's message.
"So Noelle, for Republicans, again the folks who were getting in touch with [Mike] Pence and saying 'make Trump stop doing this,' do they have to be ready now for the possibility Trump’s going to keep doing these rallies, he wants to run against these four congresswomen in particular, make them the face of the Democratic Party?" Kornacki asked. "If the crowd starts chanting again, 'send her back,' 'send them back,” doesn't stop, is this going to be a feature of Trump rallies from here through 2020?"