Judge orders defiant Kentucky clerk to jail
ASHLAND, Ky. - A federal judge has ordered a defiant Kentucky clerk to jail after she refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning told Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis she would be jailed until she complied with his order to issue the licenses. Davis said "thank you" before she was led out of the courtroom by a U.S. marshal. She was not in handcuffs.
Davis has refused to issue marriages licenses for two months since the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. She argues that her Christian faith should exempt her from signing the licenses.
Davis testified for about 20 minutes before the judge ruled 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 also spoke of his own religious beliefs. But he said that the oath he took, and the oath Davis took, supersedes those beliefs.
"Her good faith belief is simply not a viable defense," the judge said.
Bunning also warned other deputy clerks who refused to issue licenses would face the same possibility of jail or fines. He said in Davis's case he didn't think a fine would be enough of a punishment to make her comply with the law.
Davis says her supporters are raising funds for her, but she herself hasn't requested any money. She told the judge people were calling her office all the time offering money to cover her defense.
She was asked if the county insurance would pay a fine, and she said: "I was told they would drop me like a hot potato."
April Miller, one of the plaintiffs in the case against Davis, testified that she actually voted for the clerk. 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."
Miller 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!"