U.S. District Court Holds Kentucky Clerk in Contempt for Refusing Marriage Licenses

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis Held in Custody as Deputy Clerks Agree Under Oath to Issue Licenses Immediately

September 3, 2015 6:15 pm

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ASHLAND, Ky. – U.S. District Court Judge David L. Bunning today found Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in contempt of court for violating a federal court order that required her to issue marriage licenses to couples in the case Miller v. Davis, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The court also granted a motion filed by the ACLU this week to clarify that marriage licenses must be issued to all eligible couples in Rowan County, not just the four named couples in this case. In holding Davis in civil contempt of court, Judge Bunning decided that financial sanctions were insufficient to induce her compliance with the court’s order and remanded her to the Carter County Detention Center. Five of the six deputy clerks for Rowan County agreed under oath to begin issuing marriage licenses to all eligible couples immediately.

The following comment may be attributed to Steven R. Shapiro, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union:

“We are gratified that our clients will finally receive their marriage licenses. It should never have been an issue. As Judge Bunning has made crystal clear, public officials may not ignore the law. We have reached this point only because Ms. Davis chose to defy the court’s order and place her own personal views ahead of the Constitution. Ms. Davis had a choice to make and she has made it. The judge then responded in the way he thought most appropriate to ensure that the law was obeyed.”

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