A Kentucky county clerk has come under fire for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but reports that have recently surfaced highlight the woman’s own rocky marital history.
Since the Supreme Court made the landmark decision in June, Rowan County clerk Kim Davis has cited “God’s authority” as she refused to give licenses to several couples, according to the Associated Press. But in widespread coverage of the situation, media outlets are noting the woman’s troubled past with the union.
U.S. News obtained court records that show Davis has been married four times and gave birth to twins out of wedlock.
According to the AP, Davis married a man named Dwain Wallace when she was 18 and divorced him in 1994. She married Joe Davis two years later and they divorced after 10 years. When she was 40 years old, she married Thomas McIntyre in a marriage that lasted less than a year. The twins were fathered by her third husband and later adopted by Joe, who she remarried in 2009.
Surrounded by rainbow-clad protesters in front of Davis’ Morehead office this week, Joe described himself to reporters as “an old redneck hillbilly,” per the AP.
He defended his wife as she faces lawsuits filed by four couples (two straight and two gay) who argue that she must do her job despite her faith.
“They want us to accept their beliefs and their ways,” he reportedly said. “But they won’t accept our beliefs and our ways.”
The recent revelations regarding her past have raised claims of hypocrisy against the Christian woman. But Mat Staver, of the Christian law firm that represents Davis, Libery Counsel, came to her defense, telling U.S. News that she has simply “made some mistakes.”
“She’s regretful and sorrowful. That life she led before is not the life she lives now,” he said. “She asked for and received forgiveness and grace. That’s why she has such a strong conscience.”
Davis has seen much backlash as she continues to turn away the same-sex couples. In a statement released on Tuesday by her lawyers, Davis wrote that this isn’t a gay or lesbian issue for her, but “It is about marriage and God’s word.”
And as for her marital history, Staver told U.S. News that it doesn’t matter.
“It’s something that happened in her past,” he said. “It’s something that’s not relevant to the issue at hand. She was 180 degrees changed.”
As news of the woman’s troubled marital past broke, she wrote in the released statement that her refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses is a “Heaven or Hell” decision for her.
“To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience,” Davis wrote.
“It is not a light issue for me.”