ACLU files contempt motion after Rowan Co. clerk defies judge's - WDRB 41 Louisville News

ACLU files contempt motion after Rowan Co. clerk defies judge's order; federal hearing scheduled

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MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) -- An attorney says the Kentucky clerk who won't issue marriage licenses and all her deputy clerks have been called for a federal court hearing Thursday morning.

Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins says the federal court alerted him that a hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday in Ashland.

Watkins says clerk Kim Davis has been summoned to attend, along with all the deputy clerks who work in her office. The summons comes after two gay couples asked a federal judge to punish Davis by fining her, but not sending her to jail.

Lawyers for the couples filed the motion to hold Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in contempt of court on Tuesday morning, shortly after her office refused again to issue the licenses -- this time despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against her.

Davis says her office is doing so "under God's authority."

The latest motion in the case asks U.S. District Judge David Bunning to hold Davis in contempt. Bunning will probably hold a hearing for the gay couples to present evidence, which could include testimony from Davis herself. Bunning would then decide on punishment. That could include fines, jail time or both, but the motion asks the judge to impose only financial penalties.

You can read the motions filed with the court here, here, and here.

Davis and her deputies who won't issue marriage licenses have been summoned to a federal hearing on Thursday.

Davis issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

I have worked in the Rowan County Clerk's office for 27 years as a Deputy Clerk and was honored to be elected as the Clerk in November 2014, and took office in January 2015. I love my job and the people of Rowan County. I have never lived any place other than Rowan County. Some people have said I should resign, but I have done my job well. This year we are on track to generate a surplus for the county of 1.5 million dollars.

In addition to my desire to serve the people of Rowan County, I owe my life to Jesus Christ who loves me and gave His life for me. Following the death of my godly mother-in-law over four years ago, I went to church to fulfill her dying wish. There I heard a message of grace and forgiveness and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I am not perfect. No one is. But I am forgiven and I love my Lord and must be obedient to Him and to the Word of God.

I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage. To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God's definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision. For me it is a decision of obedience. I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God's Word. It is a matter of religious liberty, which is protected under the First Amendment, the Kentucky Constitution, and in the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Our history is filled with accommodations for people's religious freedom and conscience. I want to continue to perform my duties, but I also am requesting what our Founders envisioned - that conscience and religious freedom would be protected. That is all I am asking. I never sought to be in this position, and I would much rather not have been placed in this position. I have received death threats from people who do not know me. I harbor nothing against them. I was elected by the people to serve as the County Clerk. I intend to continue to serve the people of Rowan County, but I cannot violate my conscience.

Related:

RAW VIDEO: Protests erupt after Rowan Co. clerk continues to refuse to issue marriage licenses

Copyright 2015 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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