Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis continues her battle against same-sex marriage. Ordered by a court to issue licenses, jailed for five days for refusing, she is now issuing them but with an alteration that has the left complaining.
While she was in jail her assistants were issuing licenses without her name but in the name of Rowan County. Now that she’s back in her office, she has kept her name off of the licensees, but instead has inserted “Pursuant to Federal Court Order.” Davis is making a strong point that the licenses do not come with her personal approval.
One of her deputies has complained to Judge David Bunning, saying that Davis’s alterations may be an attempt to circumvent the order of the court. The American Civil Liberties Union has also questioned the validity of the licenses. In a filing to the court on a separate matter, the ACLU asserts the altered licenses may have created an unconstitutional two-tier system of marriage licenses.
It should be noted that the Supreme Court Obergefell decision does not require specific individuals to issue licenses; only that licenses must be issued to gays. Governments have offered quite wide latitude for conscientious objectors to certain government actions. For instance, individual prosecutors or judges who object to the death penalty are not required to pursue capital cases. Davis is asking for that kind of accommodation.
Governor Steven L. Beshear says the altered licenses are valid.
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