U.S. District Judge David Bunning on Sept. 8 ordered the release of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis from federal custody and ordered her not to “interfere in any way, directly or indirectly, with the efforts of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.”
Davis was sent to jail last week after being found in contempt of court for refusing to comply with the law on same-sex marriage. She has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, citing her religious beliefs and in violation of her sworn oath of office in Kentucky.
In her quest to be allowed to continue to discriminate against gays and lesbians, Davis was denied stays at all levels of federal court, including the U.S. Supreme Court.
After she went to jail last week, staff in her office began issuing marriage licenses.
“It is imperative that Kim Davis follow the law and allow same-sex couples to access their constitutional right to marry the person they love. Period,” said Sarah Warbelow, legal director for the Human Rights Campaign. “While Davis has the right to believe whatever she likes, as a public official she has no legal basis to refuse to follow the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. The overwhelming majority of public officials across this country are following the law, and history will not judge her kindly. It’s far past time for this needless ordeal to end.”
William Sharp, legal director of the ACLU of Kentucky, said “This case was brought to ensure that all residents of Rowan County, gay and straight, could obtain marriage licenses. That goal has been achieved. The Kentucky attorney general and counsel for Rowan County have said the marriage licenses are valid. We are relying on those representations, and our clients look forward to proceeding with their plans to marry.”