Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis allows deputy to issue same-sex marriage license without her authority
09/14/2015 06:03 PM
MOREHEAD — Rowan County Kim Davis returned to work today and did not interfere with deputy clerk Brian Mason who issued a same-sex marriage license to Shannon Wampler and Carmen Collins of Lexington.
Prior to opening the office, Davis, an Apostolic Christian who spent five days in jail for disobeying a federal judge, read a hand-written statement outside the Rowan County Courthouse in which she said she was forced to choose between obeying God or a directive that forces her to disobey God even though there are reasonable accommodations available.
She reiterated that she will not authorize any marriage licenses but will not stop her deputy clerks from doing so.
“Effective immediately, and until an accommodation is provided by those with the authority to provide it, any marriage license that is issued by my office will not be issued or authorized by me,” Davis said. “I love my deputy clerks and I hate that they have been caught in the middle. If any of them feel that they must issue a marriage license to avoid being thrown in jail, I understand their tough choice and will take no action against them.”
At approximately 10:40 a.m., Wampler and Collins entered the clerk’s office and had their license processed by Mason in front of over 100 members of the media as well as hecklers and supporters.
The license, which doesn’t have Davis’s name on it, has been declared valid by the governor, the attorney general and the county attorney. Only Davis and her attorneys claim otherwise.
Collins, a native of Rowan County, felt that it was important to come back to her home area for the license.
“Growing up in this community, I know it’s very difficult for an LGBT person,” Collins said. “There’s a lot of acceptance but there’s a lot of families where that is not the case.”
Director of the Fairness Alliance, Chris Hartman, feels that with the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses in the presence of Davis, effectively ends the same-sex marriage battle in Rowan County.
“I believe that this chapter is coming to a close in the LGBT civil rights movement, particularly right here in Morehead and Rowan County, and life’s going to go back to normal,” Hartman said. “Folks are going to continue to get the marriage licenses that they’re constitutionally allowed to receive.”
Penny Stinnett of Mount Sterling, who was one of a number of supporters of Kim Davis, feels that Davis’ rights should be considered and as far as she is concerned, the fight will go on.
“In no way, shape or form, should anybody have to let go of their rights as religious freedoms to help someone else,” Stinnett said. “And that’s exactly what they’re doing with Kim. They’re going against her amendment rights to give the homosexuals their rights.”
Currently, Casey County Clerk Casey Davis and Whitley County Clerk Kay Schwartz still will not issue marriage licenses since the U.S. Supreme Court decision.
Hartman thinks that it’s only a matter of time before they now comply because the precedent has been set in Rowan County.
“If they continue to not issue marriage licenses, they will be sued in the same manner that Kim Davis has been sued, and they can see clearly what the pathway to that is,” Hartman said. “It ends here. The buck has stopped in Rowan County.”
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