Tom Lowe, left, and James Perkins, with sign, show their support for Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis Monday, July 13, 2015, at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky in Ashland, Ky. A federal judge is hearing arguments Monday about Davis, one of a hand full of local officials across the country who are refusing to issue any marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court decided June 26 states cannot prohibit issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but Davis has refused citing her religious beliefs. (AP Photo/John Flavell)
US Clerk prayed to stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses
Associated Press / 09:41 AM July 21, 2015
ASHLAND, Kentucky — A U.S. country clerk testified Monday she could not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because signing the document would signal her approval of a union that violates her religious beliefs.
Kim Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses June 27, one day after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages nationwide. Davis testified that she prayed and fasted for months before reaching the decision.
Religious groups in the United States have been increasingly citing freedom of religion to avoid carrying out government mandated functions involving contraception and gay marriage.
The American Civil Liberties Union sued her on behalf of two gay couples and two straight couples.
The couples have asked Judge David Bunning to order Davis to issue the marriage licenses. Bunning, who did not rule after the Monday hearing, could order Davis to issue licenses, and then fine her or put her in jail if she refuses.
Davis said Monday she is a member of a local Apostolic church, a Christian denomination. She said she believes the Bible is “God’s holy word” and that it defines marriage as strictly between one man and one woman.
Gov. Steve Beshear instructed county clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately. At least two clerks refused. Clerks are elected officials and cannot be removed from office unless impeached by the state legislature. Impeachment appears unlikely, given the political climate in the state capital.
But Davis said she could not ask her employees to do something she won’t do herself. And she said that out of loyalty to her employees, she would not resign.
Bunning said the earliest he could rule would be mid-August.