Just weeks after Kentucky clerk Kim Davis was jailed and released for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, she is being dragged back into the legal drama, as activists claim that licenses altered to withhold their name could be invalid:
When she returned to work last week, she confiscated the marriage licenses and replaced them. The new licenses say they were issued not under the authority of the county clerk, but “pursuant to federal court order.” Davis said this accommodation preserves her conscience while also granting licenses to same-sex couples.
But on Monday, lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union wrote that the validity of the altered licenses is “questionable at best,” and that the new licenses bring “humiliation and stigma” to the gay couples who receive them. They asked U.S. District Judge David Bunning to order Davis’ office to reissue the licenses. If Davis interferes, the lawyers say Bunning should place her office in a receivership for the purposes of issuing marriage licenses.
“The adulterated marriage licenses received by Rowan County couples will effectively feature a stamp of animus against the LGBT community, signaling that, in Rowan County, the government’s position is that LGBT couples are second-class citizens unworthy of official recognition and authorization of their marriage licenses but for this Court’s intervention and Order,” the lawyers for the couples wrote in a court filing.
Matt Staver, Davis’ attorney, has fired back, saying that the governor has already agreed to accept the altered licenses as valid:
“Kim Davis has made a good-faith effort to comply with the court’s order,” Staver said. “The ACLU’s motion to again hold Kim Davis in contempt reveals that their interest is not the license but rather a marriage license bearing the name of Kim Davis. They want her scalp to hang on the wall as a trophy.”
Kim Davis isn’t just being targeted in court, either. A CNN interview, which will be airing tonight, shows the level of harassment she has undergone since her release. You can watch the interview here or read her remarks below:
Announcer: A tearful Kim Davis spoke to ABC News in an exclusive interview.
Davis: What people say about me does not define who I am.
Announcer: A judge jailed the Roman County clerk earlier this month for violating a court order and refusing to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. Davis said issuing the licenses would violate her conscience, and go against her religion. When she was released five days later she was surrounded by supporters, including Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Some held her up as a champion for Christian rights, but others have not been so kind.
Davis: I’ve been called Hitler, I’ve been called hypocrite, I’ve been called a homophobe. I’ve been called things and names that I didn’t even say when I was in the world.
Announcer: Davis says she’s just a normal person.
Davis: What probably hurts me the worst is when someone tells me that my God does not love me.
Announcer: One deputy clerk, now just the one, issues licenses to same sex couples, but the battles is not over. That clerk says he’s worried the licenses he’s issuing might be invalid due to changes Davis made since she was released from jail. An attorney for Davis insists the changes do not violate the judge’s orders.
Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles In Action.