A Kentucky clerk is still refusing to issue marriage licenses due to her religious opposition to same-sex nuptials, even after the U.S. Supreme Court dealt the final blow to her argument.
On Tuesday morning, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis denied marriage licenses to at least two couples, telling them she was acting "under God's authority." She then asked David Moore and David Ermold, a couple who has been rejected by her office four times, to leave.
"Would you do this to an interracial couple?" Moore asked.
"A man and a woman, no," Davis said. "I just want you to know that we are not issuing marriage licenses today pending the appeal in the 6th Circuit."
"The Supreme Court denied your stay," Moore shot back.
"We are not issuing marriage licenses today," Davis repeated.
"Under whose authority?" asked Ermold.
"Under God's authority," said Davis, before asking them to leave.
The dramatic episode unfolded less than 24 hours after the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to intervene in Davis' case, thus eliminating her last hope that she would not have to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
In the days following the high court's decision in June to make make marriage equality the law of the land, Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether, citing her religious objection to same-sex nuptials. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against her on behalf of two straight couples and two same-sex couples who were denied the licenses.
On Aug. 12, U.S. District Judge David L. Bunning, a George W. Bush appointee, ordered Davis to resume issuing marriage licenses. Then last week, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals – the only federal appeals court to rule against same-sex couples in the last nine years – denied Davis’ request for a stay. In a last-ditch effort, Davis asked the nation's highest court for a stay late last week, which the full court denied on Monday without comment.
Judge Bunning can now hold Davis in contempt, which can carry steep fines or jail time. The ACLU filed a contempt motion with Bunning on Tuesday. Davis has been called to a federal court hearing scheduled for Thursday, according to the Associated Press.