Judge Bunning: Rowan Co. Clerk Must Issue Marriage Licenses
Update (Thursday): Davis still refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the Herald-Leader reports.
Original post (Wednesday night):
The Kentucky county clerk who received national attention after a viral video showed her refusing to issue a marriage license to a same sex couple, now must comply with the new federal law that permits gay marriages nationwide, Judge David Bunning ruled Wednesday.
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis had refused to follow the law and was the target of fierce criticism and widespread support for her stance when she declined the gay couple's request for a marriage license in Morehead.
Davis appeared in the United States Courthouse in Covington arguing that the new same-sex marriage law violated her religious beliefs.
Judge Bunning said Wednesday that Davis has a duty under the law to issue licenses.
"Davis remains free to practice her Apostolic Christian beliefs," Bunning wrote in his decision, according to Reuters. "She is even free to believe that marriage is a union between one man and one woman, as many Americans do. However, her religious convictions cannot excuse her from performing the duties that she took an oath to perform as Rowan County Clerk."
"The state is not asking her to condone same-sex unions on moral or religious grounds, nor is it restricting her from engaging in a variety of religious activities," the judge wrote, as reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader. "She is even free to believe that marriage is a union between one man and one woman, as many Americans do. However, her religious convictions cannot excuse her from performing the duties that she took an oath to perform as Rowan County clerk."
Davis is expected to appeal to the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, the same court where the case ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court granting nationwide same-sex marriages was also appealed.