Justice

Kim Davis, Kentucky Law Clerk Refusing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses, Taken Into Custody

Kim Davis, the defiant Kentucky clerk of Rowan County who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was jailed for contempt of court by a federal judge on Thursday. For the past two months since the U.S. Supreme Court guaranteed the right for gay people to get married, Davis has argued that her religious beliefs supersede the court's order, filing appeals in protest of the federal decision.

But U.S. District Judge David Bunning has not conceded to Davis' repeated appeals, sending her to jail in a move that surprised many who believed that she would simply be held in contempt and released. The clerk will be released if she agrees to comply with Bunning's order and issue licenses to same-sex couples.

"The court cannot condone the willful disobedience of its lawfully issued order," Bunning told the New York Times. "If you give people the opportunity to choose which orders they follow, that’s what potentially causes problems."

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Davis, for her part, did not appear to have a change of heart as she gave her testimony on Thursday, sobbing as she insisted that she "didn’t have to think about it," and that her religious beliefs left her with "no choice." Asked by a lawyer how she defined marriage, Davis said that "marriage is between one man and one woman." Bunning described her excuses as "simply insufficient."

The controversy over Davis' defiant stance against same-sex marriage caused an eruption of social media responses featuring the clerk. Memes, Tweets, and other unflattering representations of Davis have been circulating actively online, emphasizing the seeming hypocrisy of a state official who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples despite having gone through three divorces.

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That is not to shame Davis for having marital problems, of course, but one would think that a person whose religion—in her case Apostolic Christianity—rejects the legitimacy of divorce as well as same-sex marriage would be more open-minded.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took to Twitter to respond to the federal judge's decision on Thursday, saying that "Kim Davis in federal custody removes all doubts about the criminalization of Christianity in this country."

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