Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 25 July |
The Feast of Saint James the Great
home iconNews
line break icon

Kim Davis Jailed for Contempt of Court in Marriage License Case

AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, right, talks with David Moore following her office's refusal to issue marriage licenses at the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015. Although her appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied, Davis still refuses to issue marriage licenses. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

John Burger - published on 09/04/15 - updated on 06/08/17

Judge says he will release county clerk when she agrees to issue certificates

Kim Davis is in jail. But even there she is holding up the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Rowan County, Kentucky.

The woman who refused to back down and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples was found in contempt of court Thursday, USA Today reported. U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning placed the Rowan County Clerk in the custody of U.S. marshals until she complies with an order to issue marriage licenses.

“The court cannot condone the willful disobedience of its lawfully issued order,” said Bunning, who had previously ordered Davis and her clerks to issue the certificates. “If you give people the opportunity to choose which orders they follow, that’s what potentially causes problems.”

In the court proceeding, Davis was asked how she defined marriage.

“Marriage is between one man and one woman,” she replied, before a lawyer asked her whether she had “the ability to believe marriage is anything else.”

“No,” she replied.

Davis rejected a proposal that would have allowed her deputies to grant same-sex marriage licenses. Had she consented, the judge would have considered releasing her from custody.

Since the US Supreme Court ruled in June that states may not forbid gays from “marrying,” Davis has declined to issue marriage licenses, citing the conflict with her Christian faith. To avoid a charge of discrimination, Davis, a member of the Apostolic Church, also declined licenses to opposite-sex couples.

More than 100 protesters on both sides of the contentious issue gathered outside the courthouse Thursday.

“If we want to live like Sodom and Gomorrah, God will punish us like Sodom and Gomorrah,” one demonstrator shouted.

Liberty Counsel, whose lawyers are representing Davis, said in a court filing Wednesday that she should not be found in contempt because lesser measures could achieve the same goal. Those include authorizing the state to issue marriage licenses or allowing someone other than a county’s clerk to sign them.

“Today, for the first time in history, an American citizen has been incarcerated for having the belief of conscience that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, and she’s been ordered to stay there until she’s willing to change her mind, until she’s willing to change her conscience about what that belief is,” said one of Davis’ lawyers, Roger Gannam. “This is unprecedented in American law.”

Davis has become a cause celebre for many who are opposed to same-sex “marriage,” and several presidential candidates weighed in on the controversy, as the New York Times reported:

Rand Paul, the Republican presidential candidate and a senator from Kentucky, said it was “absurd to put someone in jail for exercising their religious liberties.” Former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, another Republican candidate, said the jailing of Ms. Davis “removes all doubt of the criminalization of Christianity in our country.” “We must defend religious liberty and never surrender to judicial tyranny,” Mr. Huckabee said, adding that “the Supreme Court is not the Supreme branch and it’s certainly not the Supreme Being.”

The Times quoted White House press secretary Josh Earnest as saying, “Every public official is subject to the rule of law. No one is above the law. That applies to the president of the United States and it applies to the clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, as well.”

Tags:
HomosexualityReligious Freedom
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
morning
Philip Kosloski
This morning prayer is easy to memorize
2
nightbirde
Cerith Gardiner
8 Powerful quotes from Nightbirde that will fill you with hope
3
Daniel Esparza
5 Curious things you might not know about Catholicism
4
ŁACINA
Philip Kosloski
Why is Latin the official language of the Church, instead of Aram...
5
MACHAERUS
Daniel Esparza
3 Legendary pilgrimages off the beaten path
6
WEB2-Benjamin_West_-_Joshua_passing_the_River_Jordan_with_the_Ark_of_the_Covenant_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg
Daniel Esparza
Who are the cherubim in the Bible?
7
Tefillin
Zelda Caldwell
Did Jesus wear “tefillin” as some observant Jews do t...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.