CONTEMPT OF COURT: Rowan County Clerk Held Accountable For Defying the Law

Citing “God’s authority”, local elected official refuses to issue marriage licenses to qualified couples despite federal court order

WASHINGTON – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, responded to the news that Kentucky’s Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has been found in contempt of court for her refusal to follow a federal court order directing her to begin issuing marriage licenses to all qualified same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

“Government employees swear an oath to uphold the Constitution, which the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled protects the fundamental right of all Americans to marry the person they love,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Since then, all across the nation, thousands of LGBT couples have rejoiced in marriage without incident.  As a government employee, Kim Davis certainly has a right to her personal views, but she is not above the law or the principles enshrined in our Constitution.”

On August 12, U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered Davis to immediately resume issuing marriage licenses, although he later temporarily stayed his order as Davis appealed his decision to not grant an emergency stay to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit – which declined her request on August 26. Davis then sought an emergency stay from the Supreme Court of the United States, which also denied her request on Monday night – the same day Judge Bunning’s original stay on the order expired.

“This situation absolutely didn’t have to happen, if only Kim Davis followed the law,” added HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Same-sex couples in Rowan County have a constitutional right to marry the person they love in the place they call home, and they’ve shamefully, repeatedly been prevented from exercising that right.  The time has now come for the staff in the Rowan County Clerk’s office to follow the law and immediately begin issuing those couples their long overdue marriage licences.”

Even after the stay expired, Davis repeatedly defied the court and, citing “God’s authority,” refused to allow any licenses to be issued by her office.

Davis continues to be advised and represented by the vehemently anti-LGBT Liberty Counsel.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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