U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning has ruled that Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, is in contempt of court. Davis was immediately taken into custody by U.S. Marshals.
Davis,who is an elected official, has argued that she should be exempt from following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges because she objects to same-sex marriage on religious grounds.
The Kentucky clerk asked Judge Bunning to delay his ruling until the Kentucky state legislature can pass legislation that would exempt her and other clerks who choose not to follow the law. The general assembly does not convene again until January 2016.
So far, four couples have filed suit against Davis, and they asked the court to punish the county clerk by imposing hefty fines against her, alleging that she draws a taxpayer-funded salary “for duties she fails to perform.”
Davis’ attorney argued that she should not be punished because she has an appeal pending before the court. He also claimed she has a right to a jury trial.
But U.S Attorney Kerry Harvey said he strongly disagreed with that notion, adding:
“Government officials are free to disagree with the law, but not disobey it.”
Deputy clerks in the same office with Davis have said they would be willing to issue the marriage licenses, but are too afraid of Davis to do so.