Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky, continued to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Tuesday morning for religious reasons, and has now been summoned by a federal judge to explain her refusal to provide county services.
The Associated Press reported
that Davis has directed several same-sex couples to nearby counties to obtain their marriage licenses, saying it is under "God's authority" that she has a right to refuse them services. Since the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage across the country in June, Davis has refused to issue marriage licenses to all couples, gay and straight.
"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," she said in a Tuesday statement. "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."
Two gay and two straight couples previously sued over Davis' refusal to issue marriage licenses.
Following that successful lawsuit, Davis submitted a request to the U.S. Supreme Court asking for a stay of a previous order compelling her to issue the licenses. That request was denied Monday night, however.
"The application for stay presented to Justice [Elena] Kagan and by her referred to the Court is denied," said the Supreme Court order, according to The Courier-Journal
On Tuesday, a lesbian couple asked U.S. District Judge David Bunning to hold Davis in contempt of court.
"Since Defendant Davis continues to collect compensation from the Commonwealth for duties she fails to perform," they asked the judge to "impose financial penalties sufficiently serious and increasingly onerous" to compel Davis' immediate compliance.
Davis, a Democrat, was elected to office in November, and her impeachment would likely have to come during next year's regular session of the legislature, or earlier with a special session.
The court has now ordered Davis to appear at 11 a.m. Thursday in Ashland with her staff.
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