Davis Says She Feels Abandoned by Democrats, Switches Parties

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UPDATE 9/25/15
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, a longtime Democrat, says she is switching to the Republican Party because she feels abandoned by Democrats.

Davis' made the announcement while in Washington, D.C., to attend the Family Research Council's Value Voters Summit, Liberty Counsel spokeswoman Charla Bansley said Friday. Liberty Counsel represents Davis in her legal battles.

Davis sparked a national firestorm by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She was ordered by a federal judge to issue the licenses and spent five days in jail for continuing to defy the order, propelling her to folk hero status among some on the religious right.

She was elected Rowan County clerk last fall as a Democrat. She replaced her mother, also a Democrat, who served as county clerk for 37 years.



UPDATE 9/22/15 @ 9:55 a.m.
MOREHEAD, Ky. (WSAZ/AP) -- Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis made a national television appearance Tuesday morning.

In her interview with "Good Morning America", Davis said she's not a homophobe and has never said anything hateful.

Davis spent five days behind bars after being found in contempt of court for failing to issue marriage licenses to gay and straight couples.

Davis told GMA she's just a normal person and that she is not a hypocrite because she's been forgiven.

According to her interview, she's prepared to go back to jail for her beliefs if necessary.

Monday, lawyers for two gay couples and two straight couples questioned the validity of the new marriage licenses and asked a federal judge to order Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis' office to reissue them. If she refuses, the lawyers asked the judge to put the office in receivership and have someone else do it.



UPDATE 9/21/15 @ 10:45 p.m.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- Gay couples in Kentucky say altered marriage licenses issued by a county clerk are invalid and a federal judge should order her office to reissue them or put the office in receivership and have someone else do it.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis spent five days in jail for disobeying a federal court order to issue licenses to gay couples. When she returned to work last week, she altered the license forms to say they were issued under the authority of the federal court instead of her office. Monday, lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union asked the judge to force Davis' office to reissue the licenses.

Davis' lawyer Mat Staver noted Kentucky's governor said the state would recognize the altered licenses. He said the ACLU's motion was designed to punish Davis for her religious beliefs.



UPDATE 9/18/15 @ 10:55 p.m.
OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) -- The attorney for one of the deputy clerks in Kim Davis' office says Davis disobeyed a federal judge's order when she altered marriage license forms for same-sex couples.

Deputy Clerk Brian Mason has been issuing marriage licenses in Rowan County over the objections of Davis, the elected county clerk who believes same-sex marriage is a sin. Davis spent five days in jail for refusing to obey a federal judge's order that she issue the licenses.

The judge released Davis from jail but warned her not to interfere as her deputies issue licenses. Davis removed her name and the name of the county from the forms.

On Friday, Mason's attorney, Richard Hughes, said the altered forms would not be valid and thus constitute an attempt to violate the judge's order.



UPDATE 9/14/15 @ 8:10 p.m.
MOREHEAD, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis' first day back on the job Monday since her release from jail was an emotional one.

She teared up as she talked to crowds Monday morning about why she still will not authorize marriage licenses because of her religious opposition to same-sex marriage. Instead, her clerks will issue the licenses without Davis' signature.

"I have thought and prayed very hard about what to do," Davis said Monday morning. "Any marriage license issued by my office will not be issued or authorized by me."

She said she will not stop her clerks from issuing licenses to all couples.

For Carmen and Shannon Wampler-Collins, it was their first chance to get a license in Carmen's hometown. They've been together 23 years and have two kids.

They say the license, which has been modified by Davis to exclude her name, title and authority, is priceless and timeless.

At times protesters overpowered the room -- some saying the marriage licenses aren't valid. Davis, though, asked them to remain civil.

"I love the Lord and I love all people," she said.

Couples say, with or without Davis' name on their license, it's all they need.

Meanwhile, Davis' lawyers say the fight isn't over. In addition to pursuing ongoing litigation, they plan to file a lawsuit against Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear this week.

Those attorneys say they've already challenged an injunction requiring Davis to issue licenses to anyone. They say they expect a response by attorneys with the ACLU as early as Tuesday.



UPDATE 9/14/15 @ 2:30 p.m.
MOREHEAD, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Kentucky's governor says the altered marriage licenses issued in Rowan County from the office of an embattled clerk are considered valid.

Gov. Steve Beshear said Monday that the licenses issued "are going to be recognized as valid in the Commonwealth."

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has refused to authorize licenses for same-sex couples because of her religious beliefs. She spent five days in jail for refusing to follow a federal judge's ruling ordering her to issue the licenses.

On Monday, her office altered the marriage licenses to remove her name. The licenses also say they're "pursuant to a court order." Deputy clerks, not Davis, are granting them.

Kentucky state law requires that "every license blank shall contain the identical words and figures." But Beshear noted that the federal judge overseeing Davis' case has not raised any objections to the licenses.

The Republican president of Kentucky's state Senate again called for a special session of the state legislature to change state law to exempt Davis and others who share her beliefs from jabbing to issue licenses. But Beshear again rejected that on Monday.

Keep clicking on WSAZ mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 9/14/15 @ 2 p.m.
MOREHEAD, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A spokeswoman for Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway says he has reviewed marriage licenses issued in Rowan County and believes they're valid, despite arguments from the clerk who says they were granted without her authority.

Spokeswoman Allison Gardner Martin said Monday that Conway hasn't been asked to issue a formal opinion on the validity of the licenses, but he believes that those issued while clerk Kim Davis was in jail and the one issued so far since her return to work are valid.

Davis was jailed for five days after a judge found her in contempt for refusing his order to issue marriage licenses. Davis believes gay marriage is a sin. She stopped issuing licenses after the Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage nationwide.

She returned to work Monday. In her absence, deputy clerks granted licenses. On Monday morning, deputy clerk Brian Mason gave a license to a lesbian couple. It has the words "pursuant to federal court order" typed on it.

Davis says she's not interfering as deputies issue licenses but also says she isn't authorizing them and questions whether they're valid.

Keep clicking on WSAZ mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest informatin.



UPDATE 9/14/15 @ 11:25 a.m. MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) - A same-sex couple has received a marriage license in Rowan County, the first to be issued since clerk Kim Davis returned to work after being jailed for defying a federal judge.

The couple received their marriage license Monday over the objections of Davis.

As the couple stood at the counter in the crowded office, Davis' supporters heckled.

Elizabeth Johnson from Ohio screamed: "Come on clerks, don't sign that license. Don't let Kim's five days in jail be in vain."

Marriage equality supporters chanted, "Love has won."

Davis said earlier in the day that she would not issue or authorize the licenses, but she also wouldn't interfere with her deputy clerk handing them out. She questions whether they are valid without her authorization.

Here is the statement she read moments after arriving at work.

" Good Morning, I am here before you this morning as I return to work to say that I love my Lord Jesus, I love all people and I love my job. I want to continue to serve all three, as I have tried to do until now.

Since January of this year, I have been asking Governor Beshear, the Kentucky Legislature, and more recently Judge Bunning for one simple thing: an accommodation for my religious beliefs regarding marriage that would allow me to serve the citizens of Rowan County without violating
my conscience. My name or official title on the marriage certificate points to the same person, me, Kim Davis.

To affix my name or authoritative title on a certificate that authorizes marriage that conflicts with God's definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman,
violates my deeply held religious convictions and conscience. For me, this would be an act of disobedience to my God.
While there are many accommodations available, a very simple accommodation I have proposed is to remove my name and my title as the Clerk of Rowan County completely off the marriage
license. These licenses could be issued under another authority including perhaps the Commonwealth of Kentucky or Governor Beshear himself. If these needed to be recorded in the
Clerk’s office like a vehicle registration, a lien, or a judgement, that could be done. That doesn’t raise a conflict of conscience because then we, as clerks, are not the authorizer of the license.
Because my pleas for a modest accommodation have been refused or not acted upon, I have been required to do that which my conscience forbids. As a result, I have spent six days in jail because I could not abandon my faith.

I thank the Lord that Judge Bunning released me from jail last Tuesday. But today, as I return to work, my simple request for an accommodation has gone unheard. Whether I personally issue
the license or whether one of my deputies issues it, the result is the same. The license is issued under the authority of Kim Davis, County Clerk of Rowan County.

Besides my conscience, there is a real need for the legislature to address Kentucky’s marriage laws. The President of the Senate stated himself and told the courts that the marriage laws are “shredded.” The statutes forbid the issuance of a marriage license to someone not expressly authorized by statute to receive one. Even if a court strikes down a law, it cannot create a new statute. That must be done by the legislature. To issue a license to a person that is not authorized to receive it, under the statute, is a direct violation of the law. This, too, needs to be addressed by the legislature.

And so I am here before you this morning with a seemingly impossible choice that I do not wish on any of my fellow Americans, my conscience or my freedom; my conscience or my ability to serve the people that I love; obey God or a directive that forces me to disobey God, even when there are reasonable accommodations available.

I have thought and prayed very hard about what to do. The decisions I have made in this case and the decisions I will continue to make are mine and mine alone. I don’t want to have this conflict, I don’t want to be in the spotlight, and I certainly don’t want to be a whipping post. I am no hero,
I am just a person that has been transformed by the grace of God who wants to work and be with my family. I just want to serve my neighbors quietly without violating my conscience.
And so this morning, I am forced to fashion a remedy that reconciles my conscience with Judge Bunning’s order. Effective immediately, and until an accommodation is provided by those with the authority to provide it, any marriage license issued by my office will not be issued or authorized by me. I want the whole world to know, be no mistake about it, that my deputy clerks do not have my authorization or my authority to issue any license whatsoever.

I love my deputy clerks, and I hate that they have been caught in the middle. If any of them feels that they must issue an unauthorized license to avoid being thrown in jail, I understand their tough choice and I will take no action against them.

However, any unauthorized license that they issue will not have my name, my title or my authority on it. Instead, the licenses will state that they are issued pursuant to a Federal Court
order.

Judge Bunning indicated last week that he was willing to accept altered marriage licenses, even though he was not certain of their validity. I, too, have grave doubts whether the licenses issued under these conditions are even valid. This is why, once again, I urge Governor Beshear, the legislature, and the court to intervene. They have the authorization and the authority to provide these types of accommodations, and there is no reason why they cannot do so.

Are we not a big enough, a loving enough, and a tolerant enough state to find a way to accommodate my deeply held religious convictions? While my case may be the most visible
right now, there are millions of other people out there in the private and the public sector who face and are in the same position and they also need reasonable accommodations.
I urge everyone to remain civil and peaceful. I pray that our dialogue remains civil and respectful.
Because I love the Lord, and I love all people, I harbor no ill-will to anyone. I hate no one. Because I have been transformed by the love and forgiveness of my Lord Jesus Christ, I love every person. I love you all because He first loved me.

Today, I put my faith and my trust in God and God alone.

Thank you. "

Davis was jailed for five days earlier this month when she told a federal judge that her religious beliefs prevented her from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. She has refused to issue the licenses since the Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage nationwide.



UPDATE 9/14/15 @ 8:05 a.m.

MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) -- Rowan Clerk Kim Davis says she is not going to interfere with her deputies issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but she says she is not authorizing them and questions whether they are valid.

Davis read from a hand-written statement Monday morning, her first day back in the office after a stint in jail for five days for defying a federal judge. She choked up as she was speaking, saying she was torn between obeying her God and following the judge's orders.

Davis, an Apostolic Christian, stopped issuing licenses after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, in defiance of a series of court orders.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning held her in contempt and ordered her to jail. In her absence, her deputies have issued at least seven licenses to gay couples.

Despite his boss' objections to gay marriage, Deputy Clerk Brian Mason says he'll continue issuing marriage licenses.

Mason had previously said that if he has to, he would disobey his boss and issue licenses rather than refuse the orders of Judge Bunning.

Mason said that he spoke with Davis only briefly. He sits behind a sign that reads "marriage license deputy."

Davis said the language on the new marriage licenses would indicate they were issued because of a federal court order.

Keep clicking on WSAZ mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 9/10/15 @ 1:15 p.m.
ROWAN COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The legal team representing Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has filed an emergency stay motion in federal appeals court.

Liberty Counsel says at a recent hearing, where Judge David Bunning ordered Davis to go to jail for contempt of court for not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, he also expanded the injunction against her.

The team says the original order against Davis only covered the four plaintiffs that sued her.

But they say in the new injunction, "Judge Bunning impermissibly broadened it to cover anyone in the world who seeks a license for same-sex marriage."

The team says when Davis appealed the first injunction to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, Bunning lost jurisdiction over the case and has no authority to expand the injunction.

They also say that all but one of the individuals who originally sued Davis have gotten their marriage licenses, and the last plaintiff "never intended to get a license and does not want a license." They say because of that the original injunction should be moot and dismissed.

“The injunction against Kim Davis ordering her to issue marriage licenses cannot, without proper notice and briefing, be expanded to cover the entire world. That original injunction is moot and should be dismissed. We are asking the court of appeals to stay its enforcement now that plaintiffs received what they sought,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.

Read the full motion by clicking the link.

Davis spent five days at the Carter County Detention Center after being found in contempt of court. She was released Tuesday, with the stipulation that she cannot interfere with the deputy clerks in her office issuing marriage licenses. She is expected to return to work Monday.



UPDATE 9/9/15 @ 6:40 p.m.
ROWAN COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Another couple got a marriage license at the Rowan County Courthouse Wednesday.

Tuesday, County Clerk Kim Davis was released from jail after being held in contempt of court.

Wednesday, a same-sex couple walked out with their license.

Deputy clerks said that brings the total number of licenses issued since Friday to 10.

The latest couple said they aren't from the area, but wanted to see everything firsthand after the controversy made national headlines.

They also said it hurt them to see the hateful messages going back and forth between supporters and protesters of Davis.

But they also said they found Morehead to be a wonderful and welcoming place, and that's why they decided to get a marriage license Wednesday.

Mark Shrayber and Allen Corona traveled across the country to visit Morehead.

They said after seeing County Clerk Davis on television and on the web, they wanted to see what the area was all about.

"It really does hurt me, I live in San Francisco, where this is not acceptable, and coming down here and learning what is acceptable in town, has been eye-opening," Shrayber said. "Grayson, yes, Morehead, it's not acceptable what Kim is doing."

They were at Tuesday's rally for Davis, where supporters and even two presidential candidates flocked to demand her release from jail.

"Disgust, not because she was released, but because she is being made a martyr for the cause, a cause that isn't the cause," Shrayber said.

Wednesday, the two went to the Rowan County Courthouse for a license and got one.

Davis wasn't at work.

She's expected back on Monday.

"Just walking past all the signs has been really, really upsetting," he said.

Still, dozens stood outside to show their support for the clerk.

There were some supporters singing, chanting and holding signs.

There was also at least one vehicle parked in front of the courthouse marked with warnings of Judgment Day and the consequences of sin.

"I find it interesting that they didn't come yesterday to get the marriage license, but they waited until today after Kim was released. There's an agenda here," said Randy Smith, a supporter of Davis.

Shrayber also said he dismisses comparisons of Davis to people like Rosa Parks.

"Anybody comparing Kim Davis to Rosa Parks is an out and out idiot, racist and bigot," he said.

Ten licenses have been issued since Friday, according to one deputy clerk.

Three of those licenses were issued to straight couples, while seven went to gay couples.

Though Davis' attorneys said the licenses are null and void, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear disagrees.

"Those marriage licenses are legal. Our tax department is already recognizing marriages of same-sex couples because the Supreme Court said that we should," he said.

At least one deputy clerk said he'll keep issuing the licenses, regardless of what Davis orders when she returns to work.

The couple said they don't believe, based on their visit, Davis is a good example of Morehead or the people of the area.

They also said they fear people are being tricked by politicians who are getting involved, especially some at the rally.

They said those politicians draw attention to the situation and mislead people about what is and isn't law.

Rowan County Judge Executive Walter "Doc" Blevins also told WSAZ's Dan Griffin he believes the licenses are valid.

He told us throughout the case, Davis has been getting paid.

Blevins said that also includes time she spent in jail.

He said the only way to take her salary away is by impeachment.

Kentucky's Attorney General Jack Conway also said he doesn't plan to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the claim that Davis committed a crime when she refused to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

In the meantime, Davis' attorneys released a statement about what she's doing now and what she plans to do next:

"From her home in Rowan County where she is enjoying time with her family after spending six days in jail, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis said, "I am deeply moved by all those who prayed for me. All I can say is that I am amazed and very grateful. I am enjoying spending time with my husband, my family, and my three dogs. I have also been spending time reading boxes of letters expressing support and prayers from people around the country."

On Wednesday, Davis has been going through the hundreds and hundreds of letters sent to her at the jail. "I haven't even made a dent in the piles of letters," she said. Davis continued:

"I am overwhelmed that people took the time out of their busy lives to write and tell me that they are standing with me. Every letter has been kind and encouraging. I am heartened that God's people are not huddled up in a corner, but they are standing strong. Standing begins on our knees. I have no doubt that God answers prayer. God is so real to me. He has transformed my life.

I tell the ladies who I visit in jail, "Jesus is a gentleman. You have to invite Him into your life. But once you fall in love with Jesus Christ, a different world opens."

Mrs. Davis concluded, "I love God, love people, and love my work. I hope we will continue to respect these values and that America remains a place where all three can live in harmony."

Kim Davis will rest with her family and return to work on Monday."

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 9/9/15 @ 3:55 p.m.
MOREHEAD, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis plans to return to work Monday, after spending six days behind bars.

Davis' legal team released a statement from Davis Wednesday afternoon, saying she has been enjoying time with her family.

Davis was jailed on a contempt of court charge after refusing to issue marriage licenses to straight and gay couples following the US Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage across the country.

Davis cited her religious beliefs for not issuing the licenses.

Davis said, "I am deeply moved by all those who prayed for me. All I can say is that I am amazed and very grateful. I am enjoying spending time with my husband, my family, and my three dogs. I have also been spending time reading boxes of letters expressing support and prayers from people around the country."

Davis spent Wednesday going through hundreds of letters sent to her at the jail and said she hasn't even made a dent in the pile.

"I am overwhelmed that people took the time out of their busy lives to write and tell me that they are standing with me," Davis said. "Every letter has been kind and encouraging. I am heartened that God's people are not huddled up in a corner, but they are standing strong. Standing begins on our knees. I have no doubt that God answers prayer. God is so real to me. He has transformed my life."

Davis also said, "I tell the ladies who I visit in jail, 'Jesus is a gentleman. You have to invite Him into your life. But once you fall in love with Jesus Christ, a different world opens.'"

"I love God, love people, and love my work. I hope we will continue to respect these values and that America remains a place where all three can live in harmony," said Davis.



UPDATE 9/9/15 @ 9:25 a.m.
MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) -- A deputy county clerk in Rowan County says that even if his boss tells him to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, he will tell her he can't obey her order.

Brian Mason works for Clerk Kim Davis, who was jailed for five days over her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Davis was released Tuesday. A judge warned her not to interfere with licensing. But her lawyers have said she can't violate her conscience, and Davis has repeatedly cited her beliefs about homosexuality as an apostolic Christian.

The attorneys wouldn't say exactly what she'll do when she returns to work Friday or Monday.

Mason said Wednesday morning, as the office opened, that licenses would be granted to anyone seeking them. He told reporters that if Davis tells him to stop, he will tell her no.

Mason says that while Davis was jailed, the office issued 10 licenses: eight Friday, two Tuesday. Seven went to same-sex couples.

Shortly after the clerk's office opened Wednesday, a same-sex couple from San Francisco came to the courthouse and got their marriage license.

Authorities closed the road in front of the courthouse, where Davis' office is located, early Wednesday. Three protesters stood in front with signs.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 9/8/15 @ 10:45 p.m.
GRAYSON, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was briefly on stage at a rally of her supporters, telling the crowd she wants to "give God the glory."

Davis told the thousands gathered outside the jail Tuesday, shortly after her release on contempt of court charges, "Thank you all so much. I love you all so very much."

Later Tuesday night -- well after the rally had ended -- the law firm representing Davis released a statement, saying Davis does not plan to be at work Wednesday.

"Kim will be taking a couple days off to spend with her family before returning to work on Friday or Monday," the statement reads.

During the rally, Davis said, "I just want to give God the glory; his people have rallied, and you are a strong people."

She added, "Keep on pressing."

GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee also spoke at the rally and introduced Davis. She came out as the song "Eye of the Tiger" played, raising her arms to the sky. She cried and spoke only briefly. Her husband also was there.

Davis' lawyer has refused to say if she will obey a judge's order not to interfere with marriage licensing in her office.

Keep clicking on WSAZ mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 9/8/15 @ 2:45 p.m. .
GRAYSON, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has been released from jail, where she's was held since Thursday on a contempt of court charge.

Davis emerged Tuesday afternoon to hundreds of supporters outside the jail. They sang "Amazing Grace" and "God Bless America" as her lawyer spoke to the crowd and news outlets gathered outside.

The federal judge who ordered Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis jailed five days earlier granted her release Tuesday and warned her not to interfere as deputy clerks in her office issue the licenses.

Lawyer Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel refused to say whether Davis would obey that order. He says, "Kim Davis cannot and will not violate her conscience." She appeared to be crying and said little. She was asked: "Was it worth it?" She smiled and nodded.

Davis refused to issue marriage licenses after the Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage nationwide. Davis repeatedly defied court orders to grant the licenses. She cited "God' authority" and her deeply held religious beliefs that gay marriage is a sin.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 9/8/15 @ 2:12 p.m.
CARTER COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The group representing Rowan Co. Clerk Kim Davis has released a statement on her behalf, following the order for her to be released from jail.

Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, Staver visited Kim Davis at the jail today. Staver commented: “We are pleased that Kim Davis has been ordered released. She can never recover the past six days of her life spent in an isolated jail cell, where she was incarcerated like a common criminal because of her conscience and religious convictions. She is now free to return to her family, her coworkers and the office where she has faithfully served for the past 27 years. We will continue to assist Kim and pursue the multiple appeals she has filed.”

Davis is expected to be released Tuesday afternoon, following meetings with Republican presidential hopefuls Sen. Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee.

Huckabee scheduled a rally for Tuesday afternoon.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of people are outside the Carter County Detention Center awaiting her release.

We have crews on scene.

WSAZ spoke with Judge Executive Walter "Doc" Blevins Tuesday. He tells us Davis has been getting paid her full pay while she has been in custody.

Blevins tells WSAZ, "We can't take her pay away from her." He says she would have to be impeached before taking her salary away.

You can watch a live feed of her release by clicking the link.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 9/8/15 @12:57 p.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The US District Court Judge who ordered Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to jail, has now ordered Davis released from custody.

Davis was sent to the Carter County Detention Center last week, after being held in contempt for failing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In the order Tuesday afternoon, Judge David Bunning said Davis should be released from custody, but shall not interfere in any way with the efforts of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to legally eligible couples.

The judge says if she interferes in any way, it will be considered a violation.

To read the entire release document, click the link.

We have a crew outside the Carter County Detention Center awaiting Davis' release.

Outside the jail, word spread slowly through a crowd of supporters. Some said they couldn't believe the news.

Meanwhile, Kentucky, Congressman Thomas Massie says a federal judge's decision to jail Davis lerk was premature because the state legislature hasn't had time to update its marriage laws since the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage.

Davis, a Republican, pointed out that Kentucky's law still requires the woman in a relationship to apply for a marriage license. It makes no mention of same-sex relationships. He says the legislature needs to update that and several other laws, including ones that require marriage licenses to be issued under the county clerk's authority.

Massie says, "I'm here because five Supreme Court justices stole my job. They legislated. They wrote law."

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UPDATE 9/8/15 @ 12:48 p.m.
CINCINNATI, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The attorneys for Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis say they have filed a legal memo with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, seeking emergency relief from the contempt order that has put her behind bars.

They filed the memo Monday.

The group representing Davis, Liberty Counsel, says the contempt order violates Davis' Due Process rights.

They say the plaintiffs in the case against Davis never requested jail, but instead requested fines.

Judge David Bunning jailed Davis after she refused to agree to issue marriage licenses .

According to her legal team, Judge Bunning never provided for lesser fines but went straight to punishment, thus essentially converting a civil contempt into a criminal contempt without notifying Kim Davis.

Liberty Counsel also argues that Judge Bunning's Contempt Order violated principles of federalism because he injected the federal government into the management of a state agency.

They also say the Contempt Order violated the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act because imprisonment is not the least restrictive means to achieve the government's interest when it infringes on religious freedom.

Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, commented: "Our immediate goal is to free Kim Davis. She does not belong in jail. We are requesting the appellate court to act quickly because an innocent person has lost her freedom without receiving the proper due process of law."



UPDATE 9/8/15 @ 10 a.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is heading to a Kentucky jail to support the county clerk imprisoned for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier says the Texas senator will meet with Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis on Tuesday afternoon. Another Republican presidential hopeful, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, had previously announced plans to meet with Davis Tuesday.

Davis has become a conservative hero since being jailed last Thursday. The GOP's evangelical wing says she should be allowed to deny same-sex marriage licenses because of her religious beliefs.

The Supreme Court made same-sex marriage the law of the land in June.

Frazier says Cruz won't attend an afternoon rally with Huckabee and other Davis supporters outside the Carter County Detention Center where Davis is being held.



UPDATE 9/7/15 @ 9:15 p.m.
CARTER COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Former Arkansas Governor and 2016 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will be in Grayson, Kentucky, on Tuesday to protest the imprisonment of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, according to information from Huckabee's office.

Huckabee will participate in the "I'm With Kim Liberty Rally" beginning at 3 p.m. Tuesday outside the Carter County Detention Center where Davis is being held without bail.

Davis was taken into federal custody after U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning found her in contempt for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

Huckabee will be joined by Mat Staver, the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, which represents Davis in federal court.

"This is a reckless, appalling, out-of-control decision that undermines the Constitution of the United States and our fundamental right to religious liberty," Huckabee said in a news release. "Having Kim Davis in federal custody removes all doubt of the criminalization of Christianity in our country. We must defend religious liberty and never surrender to judicial tyranny."



UPDATE 9/7/15 @ 7:30 p.m.
GRAYSON, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Kim Davis' supporters held a "Million Christian March" outside the Carter County Detention Center Monday.

Dozens of supporters spent their Labor Day singing and praying outside the jail where the Rowan County Clerk has now been behind bars for five days.

After rallying outside the jail, the group marched through Grayson.

Multiple police departments, fire departments and emergency services were at the detention center to keep people safe as the temperatures climbed into the 90s.

"If people wanted to have a marriage license, go to another county," said Jason Bowman of Cincinnati, Ohio. "It's not about love; it's about Kim being targeted for her Christian beliefs. That's what we're here in support of."

People wore shirts that read: "Christian Rights Matter."

But some say the issue is about more than the rights of just Christians.

"Every Muslim, every Hindu, every everybody should be here protecting their freedom," said one supporter. "It is not just about Christianity."

Davis will remain in jail until she decides to issue marriage licenses or resign. Since her arrest Thursday, her supporters have rallied outside the jail, calling for Davis to be freed and laws to change.

"The law needs to have reasonable accommodations for people like Kim Davis to not do these same-sex marriages," said Doug Spillman of Flatwoods, Kentucky.

The march comes one day after the Liberty Counsel, the group working to help Davis, filed an appeal for the Contempt Order that jailed her.

Davis was held in contempt as she refuses to issue licenses to all couples and said same-sex marriage violates her beliefs.

Another rally outside the Carter County Detention Center is planned at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, when Republican Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee is expected to show his support. Huckabee posted on his Twitter account Friday that he plans to be there alongside hundreds of supporters and Davis' attorneys to show his support.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 9/6/15 @ 9:30 p.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The group working to help Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis filed an appeal on Sunday.

According to a release, the Liberty Counsel filed the appeal for the Contempt Order of Kim Davis, who is now in her fourth day of confinement at the Carter County Detention Center in Grayson.

Davis was held in contempt as she refuses to issue licenses to all couples and said same-sex marriage violates her beliefs.

Liberty Counsel attorneys are also continuing work on a legal brief that will later be filed in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. This brief will ask to expedite the appeal and set the Contempt Order aside.

"While most Americans are enjoying the extended holiday weekend with family and friends, Kim Davis sits in isolation for the fourth day in jail," said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Council. "We are working through the holiday to secure Kim's freedom."

According to the release, the Notice of Appeal is directed to the Contempt Order verbally given from the bench Thursday, September 3.

The Liberty Counsel is saying Judge Bunning has not yet entered a written order even though Davis has been incarcerated.

The Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization.

UPDATE 9/5/15 @ 4:08 p.m.
GRAYSON, Ky. (WSAZ/AP) -- Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis will spend Labor Day weekend in isolation at the Carter County Detention Center with her Bible and her clear conscience.

At least three same-sex couples will spend the long weekend planning weddings after finally receiving the marriage licenses they asked for months ago but were denied because Davis believes gay marriage is a sin.

The Rowan County Clerk's office issued at least three marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Friday under threat of jail time or fines if they didn't comply with a federal judge's order.

While the licenses were freely given, the drama surrounding the clerk does not appear to be ending anytime soon.

Hundreds took part in a "Free Kim Davis" rally Saturday at the Carter County Detention Center.

WSAZ's Nathan Takitch was there and spoke with several supporters.

Organizers estimated there were between 400 and 500 people standing in support of Davis.

There was extensive law enforcement presence during the rally.

Randy Smith, a supporter of Davis, has been vocal at many of the rallies.

He said Kentucky's Governor Steve Beshear needs to call a special session so legislators can make changes to the law.

Smith said county clerks shouldn't be required to handle processing the licenses, and the changes would clear up the whole problem.

"Steve Beshear needs to quit hiding behind the walls of the capitol and actually do something, this whole thing is his fault," he said.

Smith said the rallies have been energizing and good for those who stand with Davis.

"This is a moving and shaking of God and we need to run with it," he said.

David Jordan was another supporter who'd arrived at the detention center by 1 a.m. Saturday.

"I came to help support one, who's been unjustly persecuted for her faith," Jordan said.

He described Davis as, "one who's stood for what is morally right in her own eyes and [obeyed] her conscience rather than the law of the land."

Jordan said he's recovered from drug addiction after 20 years because of his faith.

"If people don't stand now, at the beginning, then the Christians will be overrun in this country," he said.

There didn't appear to be any protesters in support of marriage equality at the rally.

Another rally is planned for Tuesday, Sept. 8, at 3 p.m. at the Carter County Detention Center.

Republican Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee posted on his Twitter account Friday he plans to be there alongside hundreds of supporters and Davis' attorneys.

We'll have expanded reaction from Davis' supporters tonight on WSAZ NewsChannel 3 at 6.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for more on this story.


UPDATE 9/4/15 @ 7:19 p.m.
ROWAN COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ/AP) -- As County Clerk Kim Davis nears two nights behind bars for contempt, her supporters continue to rally.

At the same time, same-sex couples in Rowan County are also celebrating their first chance at getting a marriage license where they live.

Friday, three same-sex couples were able to get licenses as the repetitious refusals came to an end.

Davis was held in contempt by a judge Thursday, as she refuses to issue licenses to all couples and said same-sex marriage violates her beliefs.

She also would not agree to the judge's terms to allow her clerks to do so without interfering.

The couples called the day "emotional" and said they've waited months to be able to get a license in their home county.

But not everyone was on-board.

Outside the Rowan County Courthouse: more protests and chants from both sides of the same-sex marriage debate.

One group supporting Davis chanted loudly during a group prayer.

"I pray God, that you would save the homosexuals," one said.

They also warned of Judgment Day and the consequences of homosexuality.

One man walking around with a microphone and speaker warning the couples, was escorted away from the side supporting same-sex couples by police.

Just across the sidewalk, a minister from a church in Lexington, Ky., who said she believed God loved them all.

"I am proud to perform same-sex marriages anytime someone says I love this person," she told the crowd.

But inside, for at least three couples, something changed Friday.

"Thank you so much, thank you," said William Smith Jr. to a deputy clerk processing their application.

Five of six Rowan County Deputy Clerks were issuing licenses to all couples, after a federal judge ordered them to do so.

Their boss: Davis, remains in jail, in contempt of court and refusing to compromise her religious beliefs.

James Yates and Smith Jr. were the first couple to get a license.

The process was fairly routine.

The couple paid $35.50 for the license, a document they said has changed their lives.

"Relieved and happy, I just want to go celebrate with my family right now," Yates told WSAZ's Dan Griffin.

April Miller and Karen Roberts, two plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Davis, also walked into the courthouse, now for the fourth time.

This time, however, there was no denial.

"Now, I've got to marry her, you know," Roberts said.

"Get to marry her, not got to marry her," Miller said.

They said they expected to get their license when they walked in the door, considering other couples already had success.

The couple also said they believe their license is valid.

Timothy and Michael Long also got a license Friday.

For the Longs, this day meant a new reality.

They said they'd already changed their names and now they have the opportunity they'd been waiting for.

While waiting for their license, a man harassed the couple, yelling in their direction before he was told to leave by an officer.

As they walked out of the Rowan County Courthouse, holding bouquets of flowers and their license, the Longs lifted their hands into the air and many supporters cheered.

At least one of the couples said they plan to have a private ceremony in the coming weeks and a formal ceremony in the next month.

WSAZ reporters also viewed marriage licenses issued Friday and they didn't appear to have Davis' name on them anywhere.

Some people also said they were nervous the licenses may not be valid.

A judge warned the couples during the hearing Thursday, they'd be taking a chance if they got licenses and could face issues in the future.

Davis' attorneys spoke to WSAZ and other media crews Friday afternoon, calling Thursday's contempt hearing a "charade."

Mat Staver, founder of the Liberty Counsel, who represents Davis, said the federal judge knew he was going to send Davis to jail before she even testified.

He also said the judge violated constitutional law and said he will file an appeal to get Davis out of jail for unlawful imprisonment.

Davis was held in contempt, after defying the judge's order to issue marriage licenses to all couples.

She also refused to allow her clerks to issue those licenses without interfering.

Davis hasn't issued them for more than two months now and continues to refuse them, after the Supreme Court struck down bans on gay marriage.

She said same-sex marriage is a violation of her beliefs.

According to her attorneys, Davis said she has a "clean conscience", because she continues to refuse to issue the licenses.

They also said they believe the marriage licenses issued Friday are void.

Her attorneys said Davis is being held in isolation at the Carter County Detention Center.

They also said she's reading her Bible and is in good spirits.

WSAZ's Taylor Eaton spoke with Davis' husband, Joe Davis, Friday morning, who told us his wife was doing well in jail.

He said she would stay in jail as long as it took.

Davis also said he'd be heading to Frankfort to see Governor Steve Beshear about what he considered as much-needed law changes.

We also asked Davis about his son, Nathan Davis, who also works in the County Clerk's Office and refuses to issue licenses.

Davis said his son will not give in and will not sell the licenses.

Republican Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee, also posted on his Twitter account Friday, he plans to meet with Davis next week at the Carter County Detention Center and hold a rally in her support.

According to his Twitter account, the rally is set for Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 3 p.m. at the Carter County Detention Center.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for more on this story.


UPDATE 9/4/15 @ 9:35 a.m.
MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) -- A second gay couple has arrived at a Kentucky clerk's office to apply for a marriage license.

Timothy and Michael Long arrived Friday morning, about an hour after another gay couple was issued a license by a deputy clerk.

The clerk who oversees the Rowan County clerk's office, Kim Davis, remained jailed after defying several court orders directing her to issue the licenses.

Davis refused to issue any marriage licenses, citing her Christian beliefs and opposition to gay marriage.

When the couple got inside the office Friday, a man harassed them and said, "More sodomites getting married?" The couple did not respond, and a worker told the man to leave.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for more on this story.


UPDATE 9/4/15 @ 9:15 a.m.
MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) -- Dozens of protesters have gathered outside a Kentucky clerk's office where a gay couple has been issued a marriage license after a lengthy fight with a clerk who had long refused to grant the licenses.

One group cheered on the gay couple who got the license, while the other group preached and supported the clerk on Friday.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has refused to issue the licenses, citing her Christian religion and belief that gay marriage is immoral.

In a heated exchange, supporters of Davis yelled "I'm telling you the truth because I love you" while opponents yelled back that "Jesus loves everyone."

Davis remained jailed after a federal judge held her in contempt for defying several court orders.

Her husband says she doesn't plan to resign and will not issue the licenses.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for more on this story.



UPDATE 9/4/15 @ 8:20 a.m.
MOREHEAD, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A Kentucky gay couple is the first to be issued a marriage license after the arrest of the Rowan County clerk.

James Yates and William Smith Jr. received the license.

Clerk Kim Davis is behind bars at the Carter County Detention Center after she refused to issue marriage licenses.

She said same-sex marriage violates her conscience and religious beliefs.

During a hearing Thursday, a federal judge found Davis in contempt, for continuously defying his orders and instructing her employees to do the same.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 9/3/15 @ 9:00 p.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis is behind bars at the Carter County Detention Center, as she continued to refuse to issue marriage licenses to all couples Thursday.

Davis has refused those licenses for more than two months, after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down bans on gay marriage in all 50 states.

She said same-sex marriage violates her conscience and religious beliefs.

Thursday, Davis and her six deputy clerks were required to appear in federal court for a hearing surrounding a motion asking a judge to find her in contempt.

During the hearing, a federal judge found Davis in contempt, for continuously defying his orders and instructing her employees to do the same.

Instead of issuing a steep fine to Davis, the judge ordered Davis to jail, because he believed others, including her supporters, would step in to pay the fines and she wouldn't be motivated to change.

Several U.S. Marshals took a quiet Davis out a side door.

Before she left, Davis thanked the judge.

Davis' Attorney, Roger Gannam told WSAZ it was "the first time in history an American citizen has been incarcerated for having the belief of conscience that marriage is a union between one man and one woman."

Meanwhile, attorneys representing couples suing Davis called the ruling "emotional".

They said they're confident their clients will be able to finally get a license Friday.

"I'm not worried about that, the deputy clerks all made representations to the judge under oath that they were going to comply with his order, and I believe that they were sincere when they made those representations, so we believe that we're going to be getting those licenses tomorrow," said Attorney Laura Landenwich.

The decision was not well-received by all.

Davis' supporters were upset.

Some of her supporters gathered outside the back of the courthouse, holding signs of encouragement, as she was taken away to jail in a van.

Throughout court, Davis was emotional as she testified on the stand, showing tears and wiping her nose.

She told the judge she believes marriage is only between one man and one woman and she can't believe anything else.

Davis also said she would have no problem with the marriage licenses if they didn't require her authorization, showing her name on each license.

According to attorneys representing couples suing Davis, her office issued 214 marriage licenses last year.

They said her office only issued 99 as of this year.

When asked, who would be responsible for any fines she could face if held in contempt, Davis said, "I guess me."

She also testified she's received a handful of calls at her office from people who said they'd like to donate money to her cause, through GoFundMe accounts and other methods.

Davis denied soliciting any money.

She also said she makes about $80,000 a year.

Her attorneys made it clear, Davis' office receives no money for marriage licenses when they aren't issuing them.

When asked by the judge about oaths she took to uphold the law and do her job, Davis told the judge, "God's moral law convicts me."

The judge also heard from one of the plaintiffs in the case, April Miller, who testified she and her partner, Karen Roberts, have been denied three times since the Supreme Court's decision.

Miller told the judge their marriage plans have been on hold since the decision, because Davis and her employees refuse to issue the licenses.

She told the judge she, Roberts and her daughter are a family.
Miller also said in the most recent attempt to get a license, deputy clerks told her Davis was unavailable to speak with them because she was working on monthly reports.

She also said she voted for Davis in the most recent election.

Miller testified she and Roberts planned to get married over the summer, in Rowan County, but have had to keep waiting.

She also said she doesn't want Davis to change her beliefs.

As the hearing continued, the judge said he believed Davis failed to establish factually all steps as to why she could not comply.

He said her reasons for non-compliance were "insufficient".

The judge said it's not physically impossible for Davis to issue the licenses, noting she testified to that fact.

He said the court must be mindful in how they handle this case, to avoid creating a "slippery slope", giving others in the same position reason to deny licenses because of other things they don't agree with.

The judge said a light penalty could encourage some in the same position to choose not to serve groups such as bi-racial couples or those who've been divorced.

He called it a "dangerous precedent" to allow the refusals to continue.

The judge said if he allowed this, it could mean others could possibly "pick and choose" what orders to follow.

Throughout the hearing, the judge also said his orders applied to Davis' deputy clerks.

Five out of the six deputy clerks in Davis' office said they would be willing to comply with the judge's order and issue marriage licenses to all couples.

Four of them said they didn't personally agree with issuing the licenses to same-sex couples.

One deputy clerk cried to the judge and said she was a "preacher's daughter" and this is the "hardest thing I've ever had to do."

Another deputy clerk testified he'd been willing to issue them all along.

Only one deputy clerk refused: Nathan Davis, who is Kim Davis' son.

The judge said Nathan Davis would not face penalties because the other deputy clerks agreed to issue the licenses.

Following all of the deputy clerk's testimonies, the judge gave Davis another chance, by allowing her clerks to issue licenses without interfering.

However, Davis' attorneys said she told them she would not grant her authority to the clerks and would not allow licenses to be issued as of Friday.

The judge told U.S. Marshals to "take her back."

He said the court will have oversight moving forward and expected licenses to be issued to all couples as early as Friday morning.

He said he wants to ensure the orders are complied with, and said the signs and statements that they weren't issuing licenses were disrespectful to the court.

The judge called the case an example of important social issues.

Even as the judge finished his rulings, there were still questions about where the authority came from for the deputy clerks to issue the licenses.

There were also concerns about the validity of the licenses issued by the clerks, without Davis granting authority.

The judge said the plaintiffs will be able to obtain the licenses from Rowan County, but it will be unclear whether they're valid.

He said it's up to the couples to decide if they'd like to take the chance and get a license now, with possible issues in the future.

The judge ended the hearing telling the court he hopes and expects individuals involved will treat each other with respect.

Late Thursday night, protesters were still outside the federal courthouse in Ashland, holding new signs in support of Kim Davis.

One sign read, "Set Kim Free."

Reaction in Rowan County to Davis being jailed, as you'd probably guess, was mixed.

"We were set up on a separation of church and state kind of deal," Morehead State student Shannon Murphy said. "You need to either step down or face the consequences."

"They over stepped their bounds," Morehead resident Danny Kinder, who voted for Davis, said. "I never dreamed it would come to this. Our Christian freedoms are being taken away from us."

A WSAZ NewsChannel 3 crew will be at the Rowan County Courthouse early Friday and throughout the day following the latest developments.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for more on this story.



UPDATE 9/3/15 @ 5:35 p.m.
ASHLAND, KY. (WSAZ/AP) -- Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has been booked in the Carter County Detention Center.

A federal judge ordered Davis to jail after he found her in contempt for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay and straight couples.

An attorney for a Kentucky Davis says the decision is unprecedented.

Attorney Roger Gannam said Thursday that it is "the first time in history an American citizen has been incarcerated for having the belief of conscience that marriage is a union between one man and one woman."

A judge ordered Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to jail, saying her religious beliefs don't allow her to disobey the law.

Davis told the judge that "God's moral law" conflicts with her job duties.



UPDATE 9/3/15 @ 4:32 p.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) -- An attorney for the couples who sued Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis over her refusal to issue marriage licenses says she "holds the keys to her jail cell."

Attorney Laura Landenwich made the comments Thursday outside the courthouse after a judge jailed Davis for contempt of court. Davis has refused to follow the judge's order to issue the licenses.

Davis' attorney Roger Gannam said that this is the first time in history that an American has been jailed for believing in their conscience.

Five of the six deputy clerks told U.S. District Judge David Bunning that will hand out marriage licenses to gay couples beginning Friday. The lone holdout is Davis' son.

Keep clicking on WSAZ mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 9/3/15 @ 4:05 p.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) – Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis remains in jail after refusing to authorize her deputies to grant marriage licenses.

Five of the six deputy county clerks told a federal judge they would comply with order and begin ordering marriages licenses.

The only dissenter was Kim Davis’ son, Nathan Davis. Judge David Bunning says he won't face any fine or jail time since the other deputies have agreed to issue the licenses.

Earlier, Judge Bunning found Davis in contempt of court and ordered her to jail.

In the ruling, Bunning says Davis will remain in custody until she compiles.

Davis returned to courtroom after the hearings for the deputy clerk where had one last chance to comply or spend the night in jail.

DaVis told the judge she will not accept a compromise.

Attorneys for gay couples had proposed that Davis be let out of custody if she promised not to interfere with her deputies, but the clerk refused.

Davis stopped issuing licenses to all couples in June after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. Despite rulings against her, she's turned away couples again and again, citing her Christian beliefs and "God's authority."

The couples who originally sued in the case asked Bunning to punish Davis with fines but not jail time.

Keep clicking on WSAZ mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 9/3/15 @ 3:25 p.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) – Five of the six deputy county clerks in Rowan County have told a federal judge they would comply with order and begin ordering marriages licenses.

The only dissenter was Kim Davis’ son, Nathan Davis.

Earlier, Judge David Bunning found Davis in contempt of court and ordered her to jail.

In the ruling, Bunning says Davis will remain in custody until she compiles.

Davis is now expected back in court about 3:30. She will have one last chance to comply and begin issue marriage licensees or spend the night in jail.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs have proposed releasing Davis out of custody if she agrees to not interfere with marriage licenses for gay couples.

The judge has agreed to the proposal and is now bringing Kim Davis back to the courtroom to see if she will agree.

Davis stopped issuing licenses to all couples in June after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. Despite rulings against her, she's turned away couples again and again, citing her Christian beliefs and "God's authority."

The couples who originally sued in the case asked Bunning to punish Davis with fines but not jail time.

The White House says no one is above the law, including a Kentucky county clerk who was sent to jail for contempt after refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

President Barack Obama has yet to express his views on the matter, but White House press secretary Josh Earnest says "on principle, that the success of our democracy depends on the rule of law, and there's no public official that is above the rule of law."

Keep clicking on WSAZ mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 9/3/15 @ 1:10 p.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ/AP) -- Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has been found in contempt of court and ordered to jail.

Judge David Bunning issued the ruling following a hearing in Ashland Thursday morning.

Following the ruling, Davis told the judge, "Thank you," and was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals. She was not in handcuffs.

Bunning says Davis will remain in jail until she complies. He also said that a fine was not enough.

Davis testified for about 20 minutes and was very emotional. She talked about when she became a Christian.

"You can't be separated from something that's in your heart and in your soul," she told the judge.

Bunning says he didn't make the decision lightly.

"Her good faith belief is simply not a viable defense."

Bunning also spoke of his own religious beliefs. But he said that the oath he took, and the oath Davis took, supersedes those beliefs.

Bunning also said that it's not his job or the court's job to write laws or make changes. But he noted that the legislative and executive branches can do so.

One of the plaintiffs in the case testified she voted for Davis.

April Miller, a professor at Morehead State, said the past two months have been pretty demoralizing for her and her partner. She was asked during a court hearing Thursday whether a license would validate her marriage.

"Yeah, that's what marriage is about - to show other people you are in a long-term relationship," she said. "It is legitimized."

She says when she went to get a license Tuesday, a deputy clerk told her she could go to a different county. Miller says that was kind of saying "we don't want gays or lesbians here. We don't think you are valuable."

After Davis was jailed, hundreds of people outside the courthouse started chanting and screaming, "Love won! Love won!"

The hearing has recessed until 1:45 when Judge Bunning will take up the contempt issue with the six deputy clerks. Bunning is warning those clerks that they must issue marriage licenses to gay couples or face fines or jail.

The judge gave the deputy clerks time to go meet with public defenders before the hearing resumes.

Davis stopped issuing licenses to all couples in June after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. Despite rulings against her, she's turned away couples again and again, citing her Christian beliefs and "God's authority."

The couples who originally sued in the case asked Bunning to punish Davis with fines but not jail time.

Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel,issued the following statement after the ruling.

"Everyone is stunned at this development. Kim Davis is being treated as a criminal because she cannot violate her conscience. While she may be behind bars for now, Kim Davis is a free woman. Her conscience remains unshackled."

Staver continued, "Kim Davis is a woman of strong faith. She never sought to be in this position. She would rather not be in this predicament. But here she is. All she asks is to be true to God and her conscience. And the tragedy is that there are simple ways to accommodate her convictions. Just remove her name from the marriage licenses. That's all she has asked from the beginning. Today's events will escalate this debate to a new level. This is not the kind of America the Founders envisioned or that most Americans want."

Keep clicking on WSAZ mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 9/3/15 @ 10:45 a.m. .
ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) --Hundreds of protesters have filled the street in front of the federal courthouse in Ashland as they wait for a hearing to start on the gay marriage case in Kentucky.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has defied federal court orders to hand out marriage licenses, saying her religious beliefs don't let her endorse same-sex marriage. A judge has ordered her and the six deputy clerks to appear at 11 a.m.Thursday.

Judge David Bunning could hold Davis in contempt, which can carry hefty fines or jail time.

The couples who originally sued in the case have asked Bunning to punish Davis with fines but not jail time.

The demonstrators outside are waving signs, chanting and singing hymns as they wait for Davis to arrive.

Signs ranged from the violent - turn to Jesus or burn - to simple statements of support.

Keep clicking on WSAZ mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 9/3/15 @6:20 a.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Protesters and supporters of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis are gathering outside of the federal courthouse in Ashland hours before a contempt of court hearing gets underway for the clerk.

Some people arrived outside of the courthouse as early as 4:30 a.m. Thursday.

Davis and the six clerks in the office will have a hearing at 11:00 a.m. to explain why she should not be held in contempt of court for refusing to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Davis continues to deny marriage licenses to all couples in Rowan County.

Davis says issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples would irreparably violate her conscience.

Judge David Bunning could hold Davis in contempt, which can carry hefty fines or jail time. The couples who originally sued in the case have asked Bunning to punish Davis with fines but not jail time.

On Wednesday, Davis' lawyers argued in a court document that Davis should not be punished because she is unable to comply with the order and because she still has an appeal pending before a federal appeals court on a related issue.

In other developments, the Republican president of the Kentucky State Senate has asked a federal judge to withhold his ruling.

Robert Stivers said in a court filing on Wednesday that U.S. District Judge David Bunning needs to give the state legislature time to pass a law that would exempt from issuing marriage licenses.

Stivers noted the state legislature is not in session and won't be until January.

Gov. Steve Beshear has declined to call a special session. Stivers said the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in June that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide has completely obliterated the definition of marriage and said the state legislature will need to change several laws in order to comply with the order.

Also, the U.S. Attorney in Kentucky issued a statement Wednesday that said he has "grave concerns" about a county clerk who had defied court orders and refused to issue marriage licenses.

For two months since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage across the nation, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has cited her Christian faith and "God's authority" in defense of refusing to issue licenses, even in the face of a contempt of court hearing scheduled for Thursday morning.

"Government officials are free to disagree with the law, but not disobey it," U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey wrote in a statement on the eve of the hearing. "The County Clerk has presented her position through the federal court system, all of the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. It is time for the Clerk and the County to follow the law."

We have a crew on at the courthouse and will bring you the latest from the hearing throughout the day.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for more information.

UPDATE 9/2/15 @ 9:50 p.m.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- The Republican president of the Kentucky state Senate has asked a federal judge to withhold his ruling ordering a county clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples against her religious beliefs.

Republican Senate President Robert Stivers said in a court filing on Wednesday that U.S. District Judge David Bunning needs to give the state legislature time to pass a law that would exempt Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis from issuing marriage licenses.

Stivers noted the state legislature is not in session and won't be until January. Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear has declined to call a special session. Stivers said the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in June that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide has completely obliterated the definition of marriage and said the state legislature will need to change several laws in order to comply with the order.

U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey issued the following statement about the issue concerning Davis:

"The federal district court has ordered that Rowan County issue licenses to all couples, whether of the same sex or opposite sexes, who are entitled under Kentucky law and the U.S. Constitution to get married. We have grave concerns about the reported failure to comply with the court's order. Government officials are free to disagree with the law, but not disobey it. The County Clerk has presented her position through the federal court system, all of the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. It is time for the Clerk and the County to follow the law."



UPDATE 9/2/15 @ 7 p.m.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis is again asking a judge to delay his ruling ordering her to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning's order has been upheld by a federal appeals court and the U.S. Supreme Court. But Davis continues to disobey it, saying she cannot do something that violates her religious beliefs.

Bunning has scheduled a hearing for Thursday in Ashland. He could hold Davis in contempt of court, which could lead to fines or jail time.

But on Wednesday, Davis again asked Bunning to delay his order so she can appeal an earlier decision on a related issue. Davis had asked Bunning last month for an injunction against Gov. Steve Beshear for ordering her to issue the marriage licenses. Bunning refused to hear that motion. By doing that, Davis' attorneys argue that Bunning effectively denied their motion, which they have the right to appeal.

Davis' attorneys asked Bunning to delay his order while they appeal to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Keep clicking on WSAZ mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 9/2/15 @ 1 p.m.
MOREHEAD, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A day prior to her contempt of court hearing, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis continues to refuse issuing marriage licenses.

During an exchange Wednesday in the Rowan County Clerk's Office, Davis told a couple, "Just to let you know, we're not issuing marriage licenses today."

The US Supreme Court ruled earlier this week that Davis must issue the licenses.

The couple told her that the US Supreme Court had authority over her and that she does not work in a religious institution.

When told she was discriminating, Davis said she was not discriminating because she was not issuing marriage licenses to anyone.

Davis is scheduled to be in federal court at 11 a.m. Thursday in Ashland, as well as her six deputy clerks.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 9/2/15 @ 7:45 a.m.
MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP/ WSAZ) -- Kentucky's Republican nominee for governor said he absolutely supports Rowan county Clerk Kim Davis who is refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Matt Bevin told reporters on a conference call Tuesday that he supports Davis' "willingness to stand for her First Amendment rights."

Bevin said as governor he would work to change the law so people could download marriage license forms on the Internet and then return them to their county clerk to file just like any other document.

Bevin also criticized Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear for refusing to call a special session of the state legislature to pass a law changing how the state issues marriage licenses. He also criticized Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway for declining to defend the state's same-sex marriage ban in federal court. Conway is now the Democratic nominee for governor.

Conway has said he supports a new state law that would protect clerks who do not want to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. But Bevin criticized Conway for not being more vocal on the issue, including for not attending a rally at the state capitol in support of Davis last month.

Early Tuesday evening, Governor Beshear issued the following statement on county clerks and marriage licenses.

“There are obviously strong feelings on both sides of this issue, but the United States Supreme Court has spoken and same-sex marriage is now legal in Kentucky and the rest of the United States. Regardless of whatever their personal feelings might be, 117 of our 120 county clerks are following the law and carrying out their duty to issue marriage licenses regardless of gender. Same-sex couples are now being married in Kentucky and such marriages from other states are now being recognized under Kentucky law.

The future of the Rowan County Clerk is now in the hands of the courts. The legislature has placed the authority to issue marriage licenses squarely on county clerks by statute, and I have no legal authority to relieve her of her statutory duty by executive order or to remove her from office.

The General Assembly will convene in four months and can make any statutory changes it deems necessary at that time. I see no need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money calling a special session of the General Assembly when 117 of 120 county clerks are doing their jobs.”

On Tuesday, Davis continued to deny licenses to couples despite a Supreme Court ruling against her, U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered her and her six deputy clerks to appear at a federal court hearing Thursday.

The couples named in the lawsuit have asked Bunning to hold Davis in contempt of court and fine her for her continued refusal to grant licenses. They specifically asked that he not send her to jail.

Davis and her attorney have until close of business Wednesday to respond to the latest motion in the case.

Davis has previously testified that of her six employees, four share her beliefs, one is uncertain, and one employee doesn't have a problem issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June. Two gay couples and two straight couples sued her, and U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered her to issue the licenses. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld that order. But Davis still refused to issue the licenses Tuesday morning.

Her attorney says Davis simply wants her name off of the marriage licenses. He says she will do her job, file them, among other things, but does not want to be associated with the documents.

Keep clicking on WSAZ mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 9/1/15 @ 10:30 p.m.
MOREHEAD, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Couples seeking marriage licenses in Morehead were told again Tuesday the County Clerk Kim Davis would not issue any.

The federal courts have refused to back her, but she says she's answering to a higher law.

She told protesters inside the courthouse she was denying licenses "under God's authority."

Most local governments have abided by the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that gay couples have a right to get married.

Davis has become a hero to opponents. Her lawyer says she refuses to issue licenses that conflict with God's definition of marriage.

"You don't lose your conscience rights or your religious freedom rights or constitutional rights just because you accept public employment," her attorney said. "You still have those rights."

Two federal courts have ruled against her, ordering her to do her job.

Monday night the U.S. Supreme Court, with no noted dissents, refused to block those orders.

"We are at the point where we'd just like to get our marriage license," Karen Roberts, who was among the first to file a lawsuit, said.

A federal judge has ordered Davis to appear Thursday to explain why she should not be held in contempt of court and fined.

Her attorney says Davis simply wants her name off of the marriage licenses. He says she will do her job, file them, among other things, but does not want to be associated with the documents.

Judge Executive Walter Blevins says he admires Davis for holding strong to her convictions, but the law is the law.

"I'd like to see somebody issue these licenses in this community," Blevins said. "I wish it was over one way or another. We're the only county in the state this is occurring in."

Because she was elected, Davis cannot be fired -- only removed by impeachment.



UPDATE 9/1/15 @ 9:37 p.m.
MOREHEAD, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The same-sex marriage debate has reached a boiling point in Rowan County, Kentucky.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis refused marriage licenses to at least three couples requesting marriage licenses as soon as her office opened Tuesday.

Just a day before, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Davis' motion for a stay while she appeals an order forcing her to issue marriage licenses to all.

Now, attorneys representing couples suing Davis tell WSAZ they've filed a motion to hold Davis in contempt.

They said they're not asking for jail time, but steep fines instead.

A federal judge has given Davis until close of business Wednesday to respond.

He also set a federal court date for 11 a.m. Thursday in Ashland, where Davis and her six deputy clerks are required to appear.

Davis has refused to issue marriage licenses to any couples since June, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down bans on same-sex marriage.

She said same-sex marriage violates her beliefs.

Tuesday, Davis told one couple she was refusing licenses by "God's authority."

One day after the same court denied her request for a stay, leaving her no legal grounds to refuse the licenses while appealing, couples were denied repeatedly.

Last week, one of the couples denied a license, requested the Rowan County Attorney, Cecil Watkins, refer charges of official misconduct against Davis.

Those charges have been sent to the Kentucky Attorney General's Office.

WSAZ's Dan Griffin, who spent most of Tuesday in Rowan County, saw firsthand a heated exchange between Davis and at least one couple.

Couples described Davis' refusal to give them licenses as a disappointment.

At least one couple challenged her, however, opening up anger, frustration and tears.

Before the Rowan County Courthouse opened Tuesday, protesters and supporters stood their ground outside, all because of Davis.

But, the little hope some couples had to get a license here, was crushed within minutes after the doors were unlocked.

"This is our memory of our marriage for the rest of our life, and if there is not another life, if there is not another life after this one, what she has done is unconscionable, it's unforgivable," said David Ermold.

Ermold and his partner, David Moore, are both from Morehead.

They were denied a marriage license by one of the deputy clerks in Davis' office and demanded to speak with Davis herself.

Davis appeared before dozens of reporters, cameras, supporters and protesters.

"She's stood firm and we just want her to know we've got her back on everything that she does, everything that she needs and we want her to stand firm," said Randy Smith II, who supports Davis.

At one point, the room became so full the sheriff told people to clear out for safety's sake.

During the exchange, Moore asked Davis if she would refuse a license to an interracial couple.

"A man and a woman? No," Davis told him.

Davis and her employees refused at least three same-sex couples that we know of.

"My beliefs cannot be separated from me," Davis told Ermold and Moore. "I'm willing to face my consequences and you all will face your consequences when it comes time for judgment."

The couple told Davis not everyone believes what she believes and she was establishing a religion in her public office.

They also asked her if she knew their religion.

When she told them no, they said she didn't need to, and they didn't need to know hers.

"We're not leaving until we have a license," one of the men told Davis.

"Then you're going to have a long day, good day," she said.

As Davis walked away back to her office, with blinds pulled to cover the windows, Moore screamed in Davis' direction, asking her if this is what she wants to be known for, as a bigot.

Though the couples tried several times to get Davis to issue them a license, the clerk stood her ground, as her supporters chanted "stand firm."

"I pay you to discriminate against me right now, that's what I'm paying for," Moore said.

Davis said she's done her job for decades and has done it well, leaving no indication she'll consider resigning.

As she walked away from the crowd, several people chanted "do your job".

Davis also released this statement Tuesday:

"I have worked in the Rowan County Clerk's office for 27 years as a Deputy Clerk and was honored to be elected as the Clerk in November 2014, and took office in January 2015. I love my job and the people of Rowan County. I have never lived any place other than Rowan County. Some people have said I should resign, but I have done my job well. This year we are on track to generate a surplus for the county of 1.5 million dollars.

In addition to my desire to serve the people of Rowan County, I owe my life to Jesus Christ who loves me and gave His life for me. Following the death of my godly mother-in-law over four years ago, I went to church to fulfill her dying wish. There I heard a message of grace and forgiveness and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I am not perfect. No one is. But I am forgiven and I love my Lord and must be obedient to Him and to the Word of God.

I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage. To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God's definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision. For me it is a decision of obedience. I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God's Word. It is a matter of religious liberty, which is protected under the First Amendment, the Kentucky Constitution, and in the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Our history is filled with accommodations for people's religious freedom and conscience. I want to continue to perform my duties, but I also am requesting what our Founders envisioned - that conscience and religious freedom would be protected. That is all I am asking. I never sought to be in this position, and I would much rather not have been placed in this position. I have received death threats from people who do not know me. I harbor nothing against them. I was elected by the people to serve as the County Clerk. I intend to continue to serve the people of Rowan County, but I cannot violate my conscience."

Davis' husband also spoke with several members of the media Tuesday, telling them he and his wife have gotten death threats and have changed their phone number.

He also said he's not afraid and believes in his Second Amendment right.

Despite pushes for Davis to resign, she's said repeatedly, she has no intention of doing so.

The Rowan County Attorney also said he expects a response from the Kentucky Attorney General's Office by Thursday.

A WSAZ NewsChannel 3 crew will be in federal court Thursday.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 9/1/15 @ 11:05 a.m.
MOREHEAD, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Two gay couples have asked a federal judge to punish a Kentucky clerk who has refused to issue them marriage licenses by fining her, but not sending her to jail.

Lawyers for the couples filed a motion to hold Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in contempt of court shortly after her office refused again to issue the licenses - this time despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against her.

Davis says her office is doing so "under God's authority."

The latest motion in the case asks U.S. District Judge David Bunning to only impose financial penalties on Davis, but not put her in jail if he finds her in contempt.

That hearing has been scheduled for Thursday in U.S District Court in Ashland. The County Attorney says the Deputy Clerks are also set to appear at the hearing.

Bunning’s stay expired on Monday.

Davis released the follwoing statement through her attorney the Liberty Counsel:

"I have worked in the Rowan County Clerk's office for 27 years as a Deputy Clerk and was honored to be elected as the Clerk in November 2014, and took office in January 2015. I love my job and the people of Rowan County. I have never lived any place other than Rowan County. Some people have said I should resign, but I have done my job well. This year we are on track to generate a surplus for the county of 1.5 million dollars.

In addition to my desire to serve the people of Rowan County, I owe my life to Jesus Christ who loves me and gave His life for me. Following the death of my godly mother-in-law over four years ago, I went to church to fulfill her dying wish. There I heard a message of grace and forgiveness and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I am not perfect. No one is. But I am forgiven and I love my Lord and must be obedient to Him and to the Word of God.

I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage. To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God's definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision. For me it is a decision of obedience. I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God's Word. It is a matter of religious liberty, which is protected under the First Amendment, the Kentucky Constitution, and in the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Our history is filled with accommodations for people's religious freedom and conscience. I want to continue to perform my duties, but I also am requesting what our Founders envisioned - that conscience and religious freedom would be protected. That is all I am asking. I never sought to be in this position, and I would much rather not have been placed in this position. I have received death threats from people who do not know me. I harbor nothing against them. I was elected by the people to serve as the County Clerk. I intend to continue to serve the people of Rowan County, but I cannot violate my conscience."

Keep clicking on WSAZ mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 9/1/15 @ 8:10 a.m.
MOREHEAD, Ky. (WSAZ/AP) -- Minutes after the Rowan County Clerk’s Office opened Tuesday morning, Clerk Kim Davis again denied a marriage license to a same-sex couple.

She told the group in her office Tuesday morning they were not issuing marriage licenses. When asked under whose authority was she denying the licenses, she said, "under God's authority."

The denial comes hours after a U.S. Supreme Court Justice declined to intervene in Davis’ fight to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

A stay issued by U. S District Court Judge David Bunning expired on Monday.

Davis stopped issuing licenses the day the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. Bunning ordered her to issue them, and an appeals court upheld that decision.

Davis arrived at the courthouse shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday.

As she was walking in, WSAZ asked Davis if she knew what she was going to do. Davis replied "I most certainly do." She also said "God is good."

After denying David Moore and David Ermold a license for a 4th time, Davis asked the couple to leave. They refused, surrounded by reporters and cameras.

Ermold said: "We're not leaving until we have a license."

Davis responded: "Then you're going to have a long day."

Davis' supporters whooped from the back of the room, saying, "Praise the Lord" and "Stand your ground."

Others shouted that Davis is a bigot and told her to, "Do your job."

Judge David Bunning could now hold her in contempt, which can carry steep fines or jail time.

Not only is she denying to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, she is also denying anyone who comes to her office.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.




UPDATE 9/1/15 @ 7:30 a.m.
MOREHEAD, Ky. (WSAZAP) - Gay couples are expected to be at the Rowan County Courthouse door Tuesday morning after a Supreme Court Justice declined to intervene in Clerk Kim Davis’ fight to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

A stay issued by U. S District Court Judge David Bunning expired on Monday.

Davis stopped issuing licenses the day the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. Bunning ordered her to issue them, and an appeals court upheld that decision. Still, she's turned away couples again and again.

Now, she'll have to choose whether to issue marriage licenses, or continue to refuse them and risk being fined or even possibly jailed.

Davis arrived at the courthouse shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday.

As she was walking in, WSAZ asked Davis if she knew what she was going to do. Davis replied "I most certainly do." She also said "God is good."

The Clerk’s Office opens at 8 a.m.

Supporters on both sides of the issue are at the courthouse.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 8/31/15 @ 8:15 p.m.
MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against a Kentucky county clerk who says her Christian faith should exempt her from having to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Supreme Court on Monday denied Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis' request for a stay while she pursues an appeal.

In the two months since the court legalized gay marriage, Davis has refused to issue any marriage licenses. Four couples sued her and the Supreme Court's rejection marks the end of her legal options to refuse.

It's not clear exactly what she will do when her office opens Tuesday. Her attorney has said she will pray about it overnight.

The couples' attorneys might now ask a federal judge to hold her in contempt of court if she continues to refuse to issue the licenses. A contempt order could carry steep fines or jail time.



UPDATE 8/28/15 @ 6:48 p.m.
ROWAN COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins said he's referred a charge of "Official Misconduct" against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to the Kentucky Attorney General's Office.

Watkins said two gentleman involved in a lawsuit against Davis and Rowan County requested the charges.

He said this comes after Davis spent the last two months refusing to issue marriage licenses to all couples after the Supreme Court struck down bans on gay marriage across the U.S.

Friday, Davis and her attorneys filed an emergency petition for a stay to the U.S. Supreme Court while appealing an order forcing her to issue marriage licenses to all.

The county attorney told WSAZ's Dan Griffin a special prosecutor has been requested to handle any potential charges against Davis.

Watkins said he referred the misconduct charge Thursday afternoon.

He said he is unable to prosecute the case because of Kentucky Supreme Court rules and the fact he and Davis are involved in pending litigation.

Watkins said typically, the Attorney General's Office refers conflict cases to a prosecutor from another county.

According to the county attorney, there's no other action the Rowan County government could take and the government has no other options.

He said they cannot remove or suspend her.

The county attorney said only state government officials can move to have Davis removed as clerk.

Watkins said they expect some kind of response from the Attorney General's Office by next Wednesday or Thursday.

He told WSAZ's Dan Griffin that Davis has not been charged at this time and charges have only been referred.

If charged, he said Davis' case would take place in Rowan County.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for more on this story.



UPDATE 8/28/15 @ 3:22 p.m.
ROWAN COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has gone to the highest court in the country as she fights to not issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Kim Davis filed an emergency application to stay preliminary injunction pending appeal Friday with the Supreme Court of the United States.

Davis has come under fire after refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples following the Supreme Court's ruling that gay marriage was legal across the United States.

Not only has Davis refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, she also refuses to issue licenses to straight couples, forcing everyone to go to another country to get their marriage license.

Lawsuits have been filed against Davis, and this week, a federal appeals court ruled she had to start issuing marriage licenses. However, a day after that order was issued, she still refused to issue a license to a gay couple, who tried to get their license for the third time.

In her appeal, directed to Elena Kagan, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Davis describes herself as a devout Christian, which is why she says she will not issue the licenses.

According to the appeal, "Davis' conscience forbids her from approving a SSM (same-sex marriage) license-because the prescribed form mandates that she authorize the proposed union and issue a license bearing her own name and imprimatur. She holds an undisputed sincerely-held religious belief that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, only. Thus, in her belief, SSM is not, in fact, marriage. If a SSM license is issued with Davis' name,
authorization, and approval, no one can unring that bell. That searing act of validation would forever echo in her conscience. And yet, the SSM Mandate demands that she either fall in line (her conscience be damned) or leave office (her livelihood and job for three-decades in the clerk's office be damned)."

The appeal goes on to say, "A stay of the Injunction will halt the irreversible implications on Davis' conscience while this case undergoes appellate review, especially since multiple less restrictive alternatives are available that do not substantially burden Davis (or the Plaintiffs)."

Davis asks Justice Kagan to issue the requested stay of the district court's preliminary injunction order pending appeal.

She also asks Justice Kagan to issue a temporary stay of the district court's preliminary injunction order while the merits of the stay application are being considered.

She says if Justice Kagan won't grant the requested relief or wishes to have input from the full Court, asks that the case be sent to the full Court.

Justice Kagan is assigned to hear cases out of the Sixth Circuit District.

You can read the full document by clicking on the link.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 8/28/15 @ 10 a.m.
MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) - A familiar scene repeated itself at the Rowan County Courthouse, a gay couple marched into the clerk's office and requested a marriage license. But Clerk Kim Davis' office again defied court orders and turned them away.

The standoff has now reached its second month. The U.S. Supreme Court, which legalized gay marriage across the nation, will now be asked to consider whether Davis can cite her religious conviction and deny marriage licenses until her appeal is complete. She has refused licenses to any couple, gay or straight.

David Ermold said "it's getting tedious." He and his partner, David Moore, have been rejected by Davis' office twice. The American Civil Liberties Union sued her last month on behalf of four couples as the legal dispute continues.

Keep clicking on WSAZ mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 8/27/15 @ 7:04 p.m.
ROWAN COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The Rowan County clerk at the center of a legal battle, is standing firm and refusing to issue marriage licenses.

Now, it appears she'll take her case to an even higher court.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals denied Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis' request for a stay while her case, surrounding her religious beliefs and issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, is appealed.

Instead Wednesday, the court upheld a judge's order for Davis to start giving licenses to all.

Davis hasn't issued marriage licenses to any couples for more than two months now, after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down bans on gay marriage in June.

This all started because Davis said she believes marriage is only between a man and woman.

Now, her attorneys said they'll take the case onward to the Supreme Court, where this all started with the landmark ruling striking down the bans.

At the same time, the legal fight is sparking a lot of passion on both sides.

Protesters chanted, "religion out of government, resign or do the job" outside the Rowan County Courthouse Thursday.

"It's a bigotry issue and it's discrimination, I don't care how you put, it's still discrimination," said Mary Hargis of the Rowan County Rights Coalition.

Davis was at work Thursday, making no comments to reporters.

We know of at least one couple turned away when they went to Davis' office hoping for a marriage license.

WSAZ Photojournalist Chad Hedrick was there and caught the exchange on camera.

In the video, the two men were disappointed, as clerks told them they were not issuing licenses.

Davis has fought issuing licenses to all couples for more than two months now, citing her religious beliefs.

It all started the day after the Supreme Court struck down bans on gay marriage nationwide.

Just outside the Rowan County Courthouse, the protesters made sure their views were heard, and just a matter of feet from the door was a newspaper stand, with the headline acknowledging Davis also has dedicated supporters.

"If she can do this, then, so can we," Hexie Mefford told WSAZ's Dan Griffin.

Mefford is one of the protesters.

Attorneys representing several gay and straight couples who want to get married in Rowan County, said they believe the latest decision to deny a stay, means Davis should be issuing marriage licenses immediately.

But Davis' attorneys said they believe she isn't required to issue licenses until August 31st, the end date of a temporary stay issued before the latest ruling.

A judge has not clarified the issue.

"Anybody that tries to erase our civil liberties and tries to diminish that has to be on the wrong side of everything," said Rev. Douglas Mefford of Universal Life Church.

Protesters said Davis has a right to her religion when she's off the clock, but she should always be serving everyone in Rowan County when she's at her desk.

Attorneys representing Davis said they plan to file an emergency petition with the U.S. Supreme Court by the end of the week.

We're told Davis' appeal itself could take several months.

There's also no word on if attorneys representing the couples will ask a judge to hold Davis in contempt of court.

In an earlier interview, one of the attorneys representing the couples told us nothing was off the table.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for more on this story.


UPDATE 8/27/15 @ 2:45 p.m.
ROWAN COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis says she will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in her legal fight over the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples says she will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene.

Citing her Christian faith and constitutional right to religious freedom, Davis has steadfastly refused to issue marriage licenses - even though the Supreme Court two months ago legalized gay marriage throughout the country.

Davis, who refused to grant a marriage license to a gay couple Thursday, said she asked the court to extend the delay of a federal judge's ruling that orders her to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The judge delayed the order until Aug. 31 or until a federal appeals court rules to the contrary. On Wednesday, a federal appeals court upheld the lower court's ruling.

But Mat Staver, founder of the Florida-based Liberty Counsel that represents Davis, said he believes the judge's order is still delayed until Aug. 31.

Staver told The Associated Press he plans to file an emergency petition with the Supreme Court on Thursday or Friday. He wants the court to delay the judge's order until Davis' appeal of a lower court ruling to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals completed, a process that could take several months.

Keep clicking on WSAZ mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 8/27/15 @ 12:48 p.m.
MOREHEAD, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis' office has reopened.

It was closed for about an hour late Thursday morning. A sign on the door said they were doing computer upgrades.

The temporary closure came hours after her office continued to deny a marriage license to a same-sex couple.

Davis cites her Christian faith and constitutional right to religious freedom in refusing to issue licenses. She has defied orders from a federal judge and an appeals court, and has said she will not resign from her elected position.

We have a crew in Rowan County.

Keep clicking on WSAZ mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 8/27/15 @ 12:30 p.m.
MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) -- A Kentucky county clerk temporarily closed her office Thursday, hours after denying a marriage license to a same-sex couple. Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples in the two months since the U.S.

Supreme Court legalized gay marriage across the country.

A note taped to the doors of Davis' office said: "sorry our office is closed for computer upgrades. ETA 1 hour."

Davis and an entourage of deputy clerks walked out of the office and drove away. She declined to comment.

As she left, gay rights activists shouted at her.

"Gay or straight, black or white, marriage is a civil right," they chanted.

Davis cites her Christian faith and constitutional right to religious freedom in refusing to issue licenses. She has defied orders from a federal judge and an appeals court, and has said she will not resign from her elected position.



UPDATE 8/27/15 @ 9:48 a.m.
MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) – The Rowan County Clerk’s Office has again refused a issue marriage license to same-sex couple.

William Smith Jr. and James Yates were denied for a third time Thursday morning.

Employees in Clerk Kim Davis’s office denied the couple, despite an order from a federal appeals court late Wednesday afternoon that upheld a federal judge’s directive to issue the licenses.

Davis has refused to issue marriage licenses, citing her Christian faith and constitutional right to religious liberty, despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning had already ordered Davis to issue marriage licenses two weeks ago. He later delayed that ruling until Aug. 31 or until the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling. The appeals court did so on Wednesday, denying Davis' appeal.

A deputy clerk in Davis' office told Smith and Yates that the office believes Bunning's delay remains in effect until Aug. 31. He refused to give his name or give them a license.

"They just don't like gay people, they don't want us to get married," Yates said. "And they'd rather burn the earth and not let straight people in Rowan County get married either."

Davis is at work Thursday, but not commenting on the case.

The attorney for the couple suing Davis issued the following statement

“I believe that Judge Bunning¹s temporary stay is no longer effective sincethe 6th Circuit has ruled. As for next steps, the Sixth Circuit still must rule on the merits of the appeal, so that is what we will focus on,” said Laura E. Landenwich

We have a crew in Rowan County.

Meanwhile, Casey County Clerk Casey Davis has begun a bike ride across Kentucky to bring attention to the circumstances of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis.

A statement from The Family Foundation says Casey Davis set off at 4:30 a.m. in Pikeville in the eastern part of the state and plans to ride to Paducah, in the western part of the state. According to Google maps, it would take 44 hours to cycle from Pikeville to Paducah, which is 461 miles.

"I cannot let my sister go to jail without my doing something to let others know about her plight," Casey said in the statement.

Although the two are not related by blood, The Family Foundation says they are bonded by religious conviction.

Casey Davis says Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear should do more to protect religious liberties

Keep clicking on WSAZ mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 8/26/15
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling ordering a Kentucky county clerk to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis objects to issuing same-sex marriage licenses for religious reasons. She stopped issuing marriage licenses the day after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned state bans on same-sex marriage.

Two gay couples and two straight couples sued her. A U.S. district judge ordered Davis to issue the marriage licenses, but later delayed his order so that Davis could have time to appeal to the 6th circuit. Wednesday, the appeals court denied Davis' request for a stay.

An attorney for Davis said he was disappointed in the ruling and that Davis could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. He said he did not know how Davis would react to the ruling.




 
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