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Marriage Equality

Kim Davis Still Trying to Avoid Serving Gay Couples

Kim Davis Still Trying to Avoid Serving Gay Couples

Davis Huckabee

Her legal team throws a Hail Mary pass in hopes she won't have to obey a court order when she returns to work Monday.

After multiple losses in court and nearly a week in jail, Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis is still trying to get out of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Rowan County clerk's legal team, from the right-wing organization Liberty Counsel, filed an emergency appeal Friday seeking to delay the requirement that her office issue the licenses, the Associated Press reports. The filing, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, argues that since the same-sex couples who sued Davis over her decision to cease issuing marriage licenses to any couples, gay or straight, received their licenses from Davis's deputies in her absence, her office should not be required to grant any more once she returns to work -- which she is expected to do Monday.

Davis (pictured above with Mike Huckabee), who says her Christian beliefs prevent her from granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples, had stopped issuing licenses to any couples after the Supreme Court ruled for marriage equality in June. Four couples, two same-sex and two opposite-sex, sued her. U.S. District Judge David Bunning ruled that Davis was in violation of the law, and he issued an order that she serve all couples without discrimination.

After she failed to comply with the order, she was found in contempt of court and sent to jail September 3, then released five days later. In ordering her release, Bunning said that since her deputies were issuing licenses to all eligible couples, the intent of his order had been satisfied. He also ordered her not to interfere with the licensing process.

Liberty Counsel's filing says Bunning's order to serve all eligible couples was improperly issued and therefore invalid. "Judge Bunning's initial order (Injunction) covered only the four named plaintiffs that sued Kim Davis," says a press release from the group. "In the Expanded Injunction, Judge Bunning impermissibly broadened it to cover anyone in the world who seeks a license for same-sex marriage."

Davis wants the injunction to stay on hold as long as it takes to appeal the underlying ruling. Before she was jailed, she had asked the Sixth Circuit and the Supreme Court to place a hold on it, without success, and she is unlikely to succeed in her latest effort, some legal experts say.

"I hate to use a religious metaphor, given the circumstances," University of Louisville constitutional law professor Sam Marcosson told the AP, "but this strikes me as a Hail Mary pass."

Also Friday, the Oath Keepers paramilitary group said Liberty Counsel had declined its offer to act as a security detail for Davis to prevent her from being arrested again. "We will, of course, respect her wishes, and are hereby issuing a stand-down for our security volunteers who were planning on deploying to Morehead, Kentucky on Monday," reads a statement on the group's website.

The group, known for armed vigilante-style actions in Ferguson, Mo., and elsewhere, had offered this week to provide security for Davis. Oath Keepers leaders said the offer had nothing to do with Davis's stance on marriage equality but reflected their belief that Bunning had overstepped his authority.

Also Friday, Bunning denied a request by Davis to prevent Gov. Steve Beshear and other state officials from directing her to issue marriage licenses, or, alternatively, order them to alter the marriage license form so her name is not on it. Bunning ruled that as a federal judge, he does not have the authority to make such orders to state officials. His ruling is posted at Equality Case Files.

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