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Marriage Equality

Kentucky Clerk Defies Court, Turns Away Same-Sex Couple Seeking Marriage License

Kentucky Clerk Defies Court, Turns Away Same-Sex Couple Seeking Marriage License

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A gay couple trying to get married in a small Kentucky county were turned away despite a federal order because the clerk suddenly took a vacation.

Lifeafterdawn

Another showdown is brewing in a tiny northern Kentucky county where a federal judge ordered a stubbon antigay clerk to do her job and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

James Yates and William Smith Jr. visited the clerk's office in Rowan County Thursday morning, according to the Associated Press. An office staffer reportedly told them Clerk Kim Davis was on vacation.
The couple then visited the office of Rowan County Judge Executive Walter Blevins, because according to Kentucky law, judge executives can issue marriage licenses if the clerk is absent.
Yet the AP reported Blevins, who has been critical of Davis's refusal to issue licenses to same-sex couples despite court rulings and orders, also turned them away, saying his office isn't equipped to issue licenses. He also said he was not sure his signature would be considered valid because deputy clerks were in the office and empowered to issue marriage licenses.
Blevins shook the couple's hands and, according to the AP, told them, "I apologize that you had to come today and walk away empty-handed."

This showdown was sparked by the decision by Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to refuse to abide by the Supreme Court decision in June that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. She announced she would not issue licenses to same-sex couples -- or even opposite-sex couples.

Davis's refusal complicated things for anyone seeking a marriage license in Rowan County. Four couples -- two gay, two straight -- took Davis to court.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge David Bunning ruled that Davis's religious beliefs do not exempt her from performing her duties as a government official; she will have to provide marriage licenses.

In his ruling, Bunning wrote that Davis "is refusing to recognize the legal force of U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence in performing her duties" and her "religious convictions cannot excuse her from performing the duties that she took an oath to perform as Rowan County Clerk."

Read Bunning's full ruling here.

Lifeafterdawn
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