U.S. Supreme Court will not intervene on behalf of Rowan Co. Clerk Kim Davis

08/31/2015 10:36 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied an emergency application from Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who is refusing to issue marriage licenses because of her religious objections regarding same-sex marriage.

With one sentence Monday the court declined to take up Davis’ plea to stay a lower court’s preliminary injunction, potentially forcing her to issue marriage licenses in Rowan County.

Last week, U.S. District Judge David Bunning denied Davis’ motion requesting a stay in his previous ruling mandating she resume issuing marriage licenses. Bunning’s previous stay expired Monday as Davis appealed his injunction.

With the Supreme Court not intervening and Bunning not extending his stay, Davis risks running afoul of federal law and an order from Gov. Steve Beshear for all county clerks to issue marriage licenses. Beshear has said those who refuse to issue licenses should resign.

Attorney General Jack Conway is reviewing whether he will appoint a special prosecutor to investigate if Davis violated state law when she failed to issue marriage license to a same-sex couple. Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins made the request in referring a charge of official misconduct against Davis to Conway’s office Friday.

Allison Martin, a spokeswoman for Conway, told Pure Politics in an email Monday that the office is reviewing Watkins’ request.

It’s unclear how Davis will react to the Supreme Court’s decision.

Mat Staver, chairman of the Liberty Counsel representing Davis, told The Washington Post that his client would not resign, “but to issue a marriage license is a direct conflict with her religious convictions.”

“So it would put her in a real catch-22 over having to make a decision about her convictions,” Staver said, according to the newspaper.

American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky spokeswoman Amber Duke, in an email to Pure Politics, said the matter could be far from a resolution.

“The stay of the preliminary injunction is all that’s being litigated right now,” she said in response to a request for comment ACLU of Kentucky staff attorney Bill Sharp. “Based on Davis’ commitment to appeal any order that requires her to uphold the duties of her office, the merits of the P.I. stay could take several months to be resolved.”


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