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Anti-Gay Kentucky County Clerk Ordered to Begin Issuing Marriage Licenses

On Monday, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis will have to begin issuing marriage licenses if she wants to obey the law.

The embattled clerk has refused to issue licenses since the United States Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples across the country have the same right as opposite-sex couples to marry.

In the weeks since that June ruling, Davis has become a national spectacle, derided by gay rights activists and celebrated by anti-gay religious people who flocked to Frankfort last week.

Davis has claimed that issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples violates her religious freedom. On Wednesday, the United States Court of Appeals - 6th District in Cincinnati decided unanimously that Davis is required to follow the new law:

The decision from the 6th Circuit (above) states the "injunction operates not against Davis personally, but against the holder of her office of Rowan County Clerk. In light of the binding holding of Obergefell, it cannot be defensibly argued that the holder of the Rowan County Clerk’s office, apart from who personally occupies that office, may decline to act in conformity with the United States Constitution as interpreted by a dispositive holding of the United States Supreme Court."

"There is thus little or no likelihood that the Clerk in her official capacity will prevail on appeal," the judges state.

A recent rally in Frankfort in support of Davis's desire to violate the new law even attracted Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin who offered his support to Davis, a Democrat.

A pair of the cases that ultimately led to national recognition of same-sex marriage originated in Kentucky. Governor Steve Beshear hired private legal representation to stop same-sex marriage in Kentucky after a federal judge ruled that the Commonwealth has to recognize such arrangements. Attorney General Jack Conway, Bevin's Democratic opponent in November's election, refused to proceed.

Beshear's decision to proceed may cost the state more than $2 million.

Davis immediately opted to violate the new law and the order from Beshear to recognize same-sex marriage after the Supreme Court's June 26 5-4 ruling. A viral video showed Davis refusing to offer a same-sex couple a marriage license. 

Federal Judge David Bunning, in Covington, said that Davis had to follow the law. She appealed and was told by three more federal judges on Wednesday that she would likely lose. On Monday, Davis will have to begin issuing marriage licenses.

Rowan County is home to the City of Morehead and Morehead State University.

-Staff report

Image via Fairness Campaign