Antigay Kentucky clerk Kim Davis has never been shy about using her religious beliefs as justification to defy federal law and refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
But a series of emails obtained by the Associated Press illuminate the depths of religious fanaticism Davis and her supporters reside in, with Davis calling herself a "soldier for Christ" in the weeks leading up to her five-day stint in jail for contempt of court in early September.
The emails, which the AP obtained through a Kentucky Open Records Act request of the Kentucky clerk's office, show that Davis frequently turned to her faith when facing increasing national scrutiny for refusing to abide by the U.S. Supreme Court's June decision bringing marriage equality all 50 states.
The same day that four couples (two straight, two gay) sued Davis in federal court for denying them marriage licenses, Davis wrote to a supporter claiming "the battle has just begun," the AP reports.
According to the AP, Davis wrote the following to a supporter July 2:
"It has truly been a firestorm here and the days are pretty much a blur, but I am confident that God is in control of all of this!! I desire your prayers, I will need strength that only God can supply and I need a backbone like a saw log!!"
As the backlash against Davis's defiance grew and protesters started gathering at the courthouse in Rowan County, Ky., Davis reportedly complained about the noise demonstrators were making outside her office.
Much of Davis's correspondence obtained by the AP is with a supporter named Willie Ramsey, who the agency does not identify beyond his name and a note that he is from Somerset, Ky.
"Will your lawyers and several decent people be around you to protect you from the wicked threatening homosexual mob and their supporters?" Ramsey asked Davis, according to the AP.
"They are going to try and make a whipping post out of me!! I know it, but God is still alive and on the throne!!! He IS in control and knows exactly where I am!!"
Davis's lawyers, affiliated with the right-wing nonprofit Liberty Counsel, designated as an anti-LGBT hate group by the progressive Southern Poverty Law Center, have indeed come to their client's defense.
In a series of appeals — all of which were denied — Liberty Counsel's chairman and Davis's lead counsel, Mat Staver, claimed that a federal judge's order that Davis do her job and issue marriage licenses to all eligible couples, regardless of gender, would be a "searing act of validation that would forever echo in her conscience." Staver further argued that Davis was physically unable to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, though the judge she continues to defy rejected that argument.
Another revelation from Davis's emails is that many of Kentucky's county clerks wanted a separate marriage license form for same-sex couples. When the Kentucky County Clerks Association surveyed its members on how to handle marriage licenses in the wake of the Supreme Court's marriage equality decision, 54 of 93 respondents favored keeping a form referring to "bride" and "groom" for opposite-sex couples and using a gender-neutral one for same-sex pairs, reports MuckRock, an investigative website that also obtained emails through the Kentucky Open Records Act. The vote was moot, though, as the state revised the form to be gender-neutral for all couples in all 120 Kentucky counties. Davis did not say how she voted.
Also in the survey, only 28 respondents wanted to move the marriage license procedure online, something that Casey County Clerk Casey Davis (no relation to Kim), another opponent of marriage equality, has proposed.
Kim Davis has made some changes to the forms unilaterally, removing her name from them, which throws their validity into question and could amount to defiance of a federal judge's order not to interfere with licensing, according to a deputy clerk and his lawyer. Davis and her deputies should stop issuing the altered licenses, which "create a two-tier system of marriage licenses" in the state, the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky said in a court filing last month.