A federal judge on Thursday found Kim
Davis, the elected clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, in contempt for
defying a ruling ordering her to issue marriage licenses to all
Rather than serve gay and lesbian
couples after the Supreme Court struck down gay marriage bans in all
50 states, Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether and
vowed never to issue a marriage license to a gay couple because it
would conflict with her religious beliefs.
On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to
intervene in the case. Despite having exhausted all of her legal
options, Davis continued to turn away gay couples.
“The court cannot condone the willful
disobedience of its lawfully issued order,” said Judge David L.
Bunning of Federal District Court. “If you give people the
opportunity to choose which orders they follow, that's what
potentially causes problems.”
Bunning ordered Davis jailed. He said
she would be released once she agreed to comply with his order.
Lawyers representing the four couples,
two of whom are gay, who initially sued Davis asked Bunning to hold
her in contempt, arguing that she “continues to collect
compensation from the Commonwealth for duties she fails to perform.”
The lawyers asked the judge to fine the clerk, but not to jail her.
Davis, who has rejected calls for her
resignation, on Tuesday said that issuing such licenses would lead
her to hell.
“To issue a marriage license which
conflicts with God's definition of marriage, with my name affixed to
the certificate, would violate my conscience,” she said. “It is
not a light issue for me. It is a heaven or hell decision.”
Supporters and opponents of Davis
clashed outside the federal courthouse in Ashland. Opponents waved
rainbow flags and said she should do her job, while supporters said
that she had a right to follow her beliefs.