Kim Davis was taken into custody on Thursday
The group defending American anti-gay marriage clerk Kim Davis has filed an appeal in a bid to have her released from jail.
Davis was found guilty of contempt last Thursday after she refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses from her Rowan County office in Kentucky as ordered by the courts.
On Sunday, Liberty Counsel, an anti-gay Christian lobby group, announced that it had appealed the contempt order on behalf of Davis.
“Liberty Counsel attorneys are continuing to work on the legal brief that will later be filed in which the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals will be asked to expedite the appeal and set the Contempt Order aside,” said the organisation.
The defiant Davis, who the group described as “a prisoner of conscience”, has spent five days in a cell at the Carter County Detention Centre in Grayson, Kentucky.
The judge who placed her in custody said she must obey the law legalising same-sex marriage, as ordered by the US Supreme Court, or resign from her position before she can be released.
After Davis’ jailing, officials in her office on Friday finally began to serve same-sex couples who wished to marry.
“Denied a constitutionally protected right to marriage by a public official who thought her religious opinion placed her above the law, these couples waited far too long for marriage equality in the place they call home,” commented Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Legal Director Sarah Warbelow.
“Justice, equality, and the law have finally prevailed,” she said.
Hundreds rallied in support of Davis on Saturday (Pic: Twitter / Richard Fausset)
Davis’ husband, Joe, has told journalists that his wife is prepared to remain incarcerated for “as long as it takes”.
Davis’ case is being seen by religious conservatives in America as an example of freedom of religion being eroded by LGBT rights. Human rights activists point out, however, that a civil servant’s personal religious views should have no bearing on his or her obligation to act according to the law.
On Thursday, around 300 people gathered outside the Carter County Detention Centre to show their support for Davis. They held up placards that read,” Kim Davis for president”, “We must obey God rather than men,” and “No to sodomite perversion.”
The HRC said it was disturbed that three Republican presidential contenders – Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Donald Trump – had so far refused to address the matter. Virtually every other Republican candidate has spoken out on the issue and confirmed that Davis should follow the law.
“Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Donald Trump should say whether they support clerks being able to flout the law and stand between LGBT Americans and their constitutional right to marry the person they love,” argued HRC Communications Director Jason Rahlan.