Kentucky clerk defies order to issue gay ‘marriage’ licenses
August 13, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- In defiance of a federal judge and the state’s governor, a Kentucky county clerk’s office continued to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples today, upsetting homosexuals and supporters of homosexual “marriage”.
"I will say that people are cruel, they are cruel, these people are cruel,” David Ermold responded in tears, according to an ABC News report.
Ermold, who was denied a license to “marry” his male partner only hours after U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to comply with Obergefell v. Hodges, used the refusal to allege discrimination for his sexual orientation.
“This is how gay people are treated in this country,” Ermold stated. “This is what it's like. This is how it feels.”
James Yates and William Smith Jr. were also turned away in Rowan County on Thursday, after having been refused a marriage license a month ago. They joined a group of protesters Thursday after their second denial.
“I still get frustrated sometimes,” said Yates, “but then I take a deep breath and go on. I know it's going to get resolved. It's just a matter of when.”
Davis was on vacation Thursday, and Deputy Clerk Nathan Davis was acting on the advice of the office’s legal counsel to go forward with declining the licenses while the case is on appeal.
“Kim Davis is just an example of what's going to be happening not only to other clerks but to other people who are going to be confronted with this issue and we think that this is a serious matter that needs to be decided by a higher court, even the Supreme Court,” Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver said.
Since the June 26 Supreme Court decision imposing legalized homosexual “marriage” across the U.S., Davis has said that issuing a same-sex “marriage” license containing her signature is the same thing as her personally approving the union, which is a violation of her Christian beliefs.
Davis has declined to issue any marriage licenses since the SCOTUS ruling, whether to heterosexual or same-sex couples, in an attempt to uphold her religious principles without discriminating against homosexual couples.
The ACLU sued Davis on behalf of several couples, same-sex and heterosexual, in early July.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, issued an ultimatum to county clerks statewide earlier this month, telling them to validate gay “marriage” or resign.
“You can continue to have your own personal beliefs,” Beshear told government employees, “but, you’re also taking an oath to fulfill the duties prescribed by law, and if you are at that point to where your personal convictions tell you that you simply cannot fulfill your duties that you were elected to do, then obviously an honorable course to take is to resign and let someone else step in who feels that they can fulfill those duties.”
South Dakota's attorney general has granted consent to county clerks with conscientious objections to opt out of issuing homosexual "marriage" licenses, providing another clerk in the office will issue the license.
Davis has contended that couples can obtain licenses either from a surrounding county or from Rowan County Judge Executive Walter Blevins.
Bunning said this would take Blevins out of the scope of his office, and also said couples shouldn’t have to leave the county for a marriage license.
Bunning also said in his ruling Wednesday that Davis has probably violated the Constitutional ban on government-established religion by her “openly adopting a policy that promotes her own religious convictions at the expenses of others.”
“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,” he wrote. “Davis remains free to practice her Apostolic Christian beliefs. She may continue to attend church twice a week, participate in Bible Study and minister to female inmates at the Rowan County Jail.”
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“She is even free to believe that marriage is a union between one man and one woman, as many Americans do," Bunning continued. "However, her religious convictions cannot excuse her from performing the duties that she took an oath to perform as Rowan County Clerk."
Lawyers for the couples said they were considering asking the court to hold Davis in contempt, which could result in a substantial fine or threat of jail time.
Liberty Counsel criticized the ruling, asking for a stay and filing for appeal. “Judge Bunning's decision equated Kim's free exercise of religion to going to church,” Staver said in a statement. “This is absurd.”
“Kim Davis cannot license something that is prohibited by her religious convictions,” he continued. “To provide a license is to provide approval and places a legal authority behind what is being licensed.”
“Kim Davis did not sign up as a clerk to issue same-sex marriage licenses,” Staver stated. “Her job duty was changed by five lawyers without any constitutional authority.”
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