Kim Davis declares victory, drops lawsuit
CINCINNATI, June 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Kim Davis has dropped her legal battle to be granted a religious accommodation, saying she is satisfied that a new law signed by Governor Matt Bevin protects state county clerks’ consciences.
Kentucky Senate Bill 216, passed unanimously by the state legislature, removes county clerks’ names, personal identification, and authorization from state marriage licenses. The law goes into effect July 14.
Davis’ attorneys filed a motion to dismiss her lawsuit with the Sixth Court of Appeals on Tuesday, because the new law provides Davis with the religious accommodation she sought from the court.
“I am thankful to the legislators for passing this law, to Gov. Matt Bevin for signing it, to Liberty Counsel for representing me, and most of all to Jesus Christ, Who redeemed me and is my solid rock on which I stand,” said Davis in a statement released through Liberty Counsel. “I am pleased that I can continue to serve my community as the Rowan County Clerk without having to sacrifice my religious convictions and conscience.”
The Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk became the first American jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges decision redefined marriage nationwide.
Davis was willing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples but had asked state legislators to grant her an exemption from having to put her name on the documents, which she felt would constitute her endorsement of homosexuality.
Placing her name on the documents, she felt, would violate her conscience and potentially cost her immortal soul.
"It's a Heaven or Hell decision," Davis, a born again Apostolic Christian, said at the time.
Former Governor Steve Beshear, a Democrat, refused to grant any accommodation, and Davis' stance garnered national attention.
“From the beginning, Kim Davis requested the very accommodation for her religious convictions that the Kentucky legislature passed and which Gov. Matt Bevin signed into law,” said Mat Staver, the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, which represents Davis. “The previous governor could have made the same accommodation but refused to do so. Instead, he was willing to violate deeply held religious convictions about marriage in order to press his ideological agenda.”
Judge David Bunning held her in contempt of court, requiring that she spend six days in jail last September.
Her incarceration over conscience rights provoked national backlash from Christians who uphold the natural definition of marriage. "Lock me up" in Kim Davis' place, Mike Huckabee said at a public rally on her behalf outside the jail. "Let Kim go."
She returned to work last September 14, allowing others in her office to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples that did not have her name on them.
In February, a federal judge turned down the ACLU’s request to force Davis to violate her conscience by requiring her to issue the old forms bearing her name.
Gov. Bevin, an economic and social conservative, credited his support for Davis in part for his election as governor last year. Signing the law fulfilled one of his campaign promises.
“We are very pleased with this outcome,” Staver said.