Kentucky Clerk Is Handcuffed and Charged with Contempt of Court for Refusing to Issue Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples

Kim Davis claimed she was refusing to issue licenses on religious grounds

Photo: Timothy D. Easley/AP

Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was found in contempt of court Thursday and has been arrested.

Davis, the clerk in Rowan County, made headlines when she refused to give out licenses to couples, despite the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling that made it legal for same-sex couples to get married, the Associated Press reports. Davis, who identifies as an Apostolic Christian, claimed she couldn’t give out the licenses on religious grounds and cited her decision as being on “God’s authority.”

Last week, Davis defied a federal appeals court’s decision that ordered her to issue licenses to same-sex couples. (The appeals court upheld a lower court’s ruling that said she could not refuse to issue the licenses.) Davis said at the time that she will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene, claiming that the decision violated her religious freedom.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge David L. Bunning said that “the idea of natural law superseding this court’s authority would be a dangerous precedent indeed.” Before being escorted out of the courtroom by U.S. marshals, Davis thanked the judge, but remained defiant.

“God’s moral law conflicts with my job duties,” she said, according to the Associated Press “You can’t be separated from something that’s in your heart and in your soul.”

On Wednesday, Davis asked Bunning not to hold her in contempt, arguing that it would violate due process and her religious freedom.

According to a reporter from the Lexington Herald-Leader, the crowd erupted into applause after Bunning’s decision.

Activists outside the courtroom could also be seen cheering and celebrating.

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