Rowan Co. Clerk Kim Davis jailed, staff agrees to issue licenses - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Rowan Co. Clerk Kim Davis jailed, staff agrees to issue licenses

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Protesters and supporters gathered outside a hearing for the Rowan County Clerk and her staff in the federal courthouse in Ashland. Protesters and supporters gathered outside a hearing for the Rowan County Clerk and her staff in the federal courthouse in Ashland.
Kim Davis' mugshot from the Carter County Jail. Kim Davis' mugshot from the Carter County Jail.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Five of the six deputy clerks in Rowan County say they will issue marriage licenses to gay couples, despite their boss' refusal to do so -- and U.S. District Judge David Bunning has ordered them to begin issuing those licenses Friday morning.

On Thursday afternoon, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis again refused to issue the licenses and was booked into the Carter County Jail. 

The lone holdout among the deputy clerks is Davis' son, Nathan. His mother was jailed earlier Thursday when she refused to follow U.S. District Judge David Bunning's order to hand out marriage licenses.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs have proposed releasing Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis out of custody if she agrees to not interfere with marriage licenses for gay couples.

The judge has agreed to the proposal and is now bringing Kim Davis back to the courtroom to see if she will agree.

“The future of the Rowan County Clerk continues to be a matter between her and the courts,” Governor Steve Beshear said in a statement Thursday. “It appears that the citizens of Rowan County will now have access to all the services from the clerk’s office to which they are entitled.”

A defiant county clerk was found in contempt Thursday after insisting that her "conscience will not allow" her to follow a federal judge's orders to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

"God's moral law conflicts with my job duties," Davis told U.S. District Judge David Bunning. "You can't be separated from something that's in your heart and in your soul."

The judge said she left him with no alternative but to jail her, since fines alone would not change her mind. A deputy escorted her out of the courtroom, although not in handcuffs, to be turned over to the custody of federal marshals.

"Her good faith belief is simply not a viable defense," Bunning said, noting that allowing an individual's beliefs to supersede the court's authority would set a dangerous precedent.

"I myself have genuinely held religious beliefs," the judge said, but "I took an oath."

"Mrs. Davis took an oath," he added. "Oaths mean things."

A tight-knit community

Rowan County is a small, close-knit community where most everyone knows Davis -- and if they didn’t, they probably do now.

“She is an elected official and she needed to do her job or resign,” Morehead resident Beverly Tadlock said.

Davis has been refusing to issue marriage licenses since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Kentucky’s gay marriage ban. Gay couples have requested marriage licenses and been denied by Davis “under God’s authority,” she told them. 

“I guess I'm not glad that she's in jail,” Tyler Oldham, another Morehead resident, said. “But I'm glad she's seeing some consequences for defying the law.”

Five of Davis’s six deputy clerk’s will be at the office and have agreed to issue licenses to gay couples.

 “Everybody has a job and rules change when you work anywhere,” Tadlock said. “If you don't do your job I don’t know about anyone else, but I wouldn't be allowed to work. “

Tadlock has lived most of her life in Rowan County and voted Davis into office, but knowing what she does now, she says she wouldn't have voted for her to be county clerk.

“Whether or not someone gets married -- it doesn't matter, she just gives them the license to get married. She wasn't marrying them,” said Tadlock.

Davis is now being held in the Carder County jail and some were happy about it, like Abby Kuehne.

“She needed to abide by the law. the Supreme Court made their decision and it's about time something was done about it,” said the Wheelersburg, Ohio resident.

Others, like Janet Faulkner, are not okay with the decision.

“I do not (like it), because I feel like she has the right to do what she believes in,” the Ashland resident said. “It's her religious belief.”

The Rowan County courthouse opens Friday morning at 8 a.m. and same-sex couples are expected to finally get their marriage licenses. 

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