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Appeals Court Denies Rowan County Clerk Request To Not Issue Marriage Licenses

The Morehead News

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis will have to resume issuing marriage licenses while she is being sued by four local couples who were denied licenses, according to a ruling Wednesday from the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Davis’ defense team is appealing that decision.

In its ruling, the three-judge appeals court panel said there was “little or no likelihood that the Clerk in her official capacity will prevail on appeal.”

Davis’ defense lawyers say they will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

Davis is represented by Liberty Counsel, a non-profit law firm that specializes in religious freedom cases. Its founder and chairman, Mat Staver, says that even though she’s a government official, Davis’ religious freedoms should be upheld. “The implication is that if you work at a government agency you don’t have any religious freedom rights. If that’s the implication that’s staggering and that’s a startling proposition.”

Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses after the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage.

An Apostolic Christian, she says that her religious views prevent her from approving same-sex marriage. Rather than be accused of discrimination, Davis stopped issuing licenses to all couples.

Her lawyers say they will take her appeal to the Supreme Court.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning last week ordered Davis had to resume issuing marriage licenses, saying that her religious beliefs cannot be used as a defense from performing her official duties.

Bunning provided a temporary stay of the order pending appeal to the Sixth Circuit.

Bunning or U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan could extend the stay request.

The main lawsuit against Davis, which seeks damages for not issuing marriage licenses, is ongoing in Bunning’s U.S. District Court.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He grew up in Lexington.

Email Ryland at
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