Judge: Clerk cannot use religious beliefs to snub gay couples


County Clerk Kim Davis refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses

A judge has issued a stinging ruling against a homophobic county clerk in Kentucky who refused to provide gay couples with marriage licenses.

Kim Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses in her county rather than be forced to recognise same-sex marriages. She argued that to do so would violate her religious beliefs.

On Wednesday, US district judge David Bunning ruled against Davis in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky and ordered her to grant four couples, two of which are same-sex, their marriage licenses.

Bunning ruled that by refusing to issue the marriage licenses, Davis “is refusing to recognise the legal force of US Supreme Court jurisprudence in performing her duties.”

He added that Davis’ “religious convictions cannot excuse her from performing the duties that she took an oath to perform as Rowan County Clerk.”

“Government officials have a duty to impartially administer the law,” commented Michael Aldridge, executive director of the ACLU of Kentucky. “When a law is updated, they cannot refuse to provide essential public services simply because they object, for personal religious reasons.”

ACLU of Kentucky Cooperating Attorney Dan Canon added: “The ruling represents a total victory for our clients. Elected officials cannot be permitted to ignore the rule of law by governing according to their own private beliefs.”

AP reported, however, that Davis has since defied the ruling and on Thursday turned away a gay couple applying for a marriage license. Her legal counsel has advised her to do so pending an appeal. 

Davis, who was last month videoed refusing to grant a marriage license to David Moore and his partner of 17 years, has filed her own suit against Governor Steve Beshear, arguing that he should have allowed her and other clerks in the state to “opt-out” of issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

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