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Antigay Kentucky Clerk Makes Emergency Appeal to Supreme Court

Antigay Kentucky Clerk Makes Emergency Appeal to Supreme Court

Lawyers for Rowan County, Ky., Clerk Kim Davis carried through Friday on their vow to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes that she won’t have to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the Associated Press reports.

In an emergency filing with the high court, lawyers with the far-right Liberty Counsel argue that for Davis to issue and sign a marriage license for a same-sex couple would be a “searing act of validation” that “would forever echo in her conscience.” The order for her to license same-sex unions “demands that she either fall in line (her conscience be damned) or leave office (her livelihood and job for three-decades in the clerk’s office be damned).”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Wednesday rejected Davis’s request for a stay of U.S. District Judge David Bunning’s order that she issue licenses to all eligible couples, beginning Monday. Davis, who says her Christian beliefs preclude her from licensing same-sex marriages, and her staff have ceased licensing any marriages in order to avoid serving same-sex couples.

In the Supreme Court filing, prompted by her loss at the appellate level, she seeks to put Bunning’s order on hold for as long as it takes her to appeal the ruling underlying it, which holds that requiring her to perform the duties of her job does not substantially interfere with her religious freedom. That process could take months, the AP notes.

Two other Kentucky county clerks likewise refuse to license same-sex unions, also citing religious beliefs, but Davis was sued over her resistance, leading to Bunning’s ruling and order. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has said all clerks should comply with the June Supreme Court marriage equality ruling and issue licenses to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples — or resign their positions.

Davis’s emergency appeal to the Supreme Court will be considered by Justice Elena Kagan, who oversees such actions originating from the Sixth Circuit. She can refuse the appeal, grant it, ignore it, or send it to the full court; Davis’s lawyers have asked that Kagan (one of the five justices who ruled for marriage equality) refer the matter to the full court if she does not wish to grant a stay.

“It’s highly unlikely the Supreme Court will grant her request, since they have already ruled on the issue of same-sex marriage,” notes The New Civil Rights Movement, “but the Court has been known to grant extreme requests as an exercise in an abundance of wishing to appear fair and acting with respect, regardless of outcomes.”

You can read Davis’s filing in full at BuzzFeed.

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