equal rites

Kentucky Clerk Seeks Emergency Injunction, Release From Jail

Religious Freedom Rally
Kim Davis. Photo: Timothy D. Easley/© Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

As Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, spent Labor Day weekend in jail, her attorneys were hard at work trying to arrange a way for her to go free and keep her $80,000-a-year job. On Sunday, Davis’s attorneys appealed the contempt order, which stipulates she must remain in custody until she complies with the law, to the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The notice to appeal said nothing about her attorneys’ reasoning, but lawyer Mat Staver said in a statement that she “is entitled to proper notice and due process when she is threatened with the loss of her freedom. There was no indication that she would be incarcerated.”

On Monday Davis’s legal team filed an emergency request for an exemption from the “governor’s mandate that all county clerks issue marriage licenses.” The filing suggests that there are several ways Davis’s religious views can be accommodated, including letting the county judge or executive issue same-sex marriage licenses, and allowing a deputy clerk to issue them without Davis’s name on the document.

U.S. District judge David Bunning had offered to let Davis avoid jail if she allowed her deputies to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She rejected the compromise, but the five deputies in the Rowan County clerk’s office who are not related to Davis agreed to comply with the law. The deputies have issued marriage licenses to several gay couples, but Davis’s supporters say they are not valid because they were not issued with her authority. “They are not worth the paper that they are written on,” Staver said.

Jailed Kentucky Clerk Seeks Emergency Injunction