Yesterday here in Kentucky, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis defied a federal court order compelling her to resume issuing marriage licenses to all eligible couples, as required by Kentucky law. She stopped issuing them immediately after the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. The court order she defied comes from a lawsuit filed by four couples - two same-sex and two different-sex - who want to get married in their home county as is their right. Only the clerk stands in their way, refusing to issue any licenses due to her personal, religious objection to gays and lesbian relationships.
I, along with colleagues at my law firm and attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union, represent the couples against the clerk.
Here is a timeline of recent events:
- District Court judge David Bunning granted the plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction, compelling Ms. Davis to issue licenses while the case moves on to the merits.
- Davis immediately appealed that order to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Davis then sought a stay of Judge Bunning's order while it is on appeal.
- Judge Bunning rejected that request, but delayed the effect until the Sixth Circuit could weigh in.
- The Sixth Circuit rejected their request for a stay.
- Davis then sought an emergency stay from the U.S. Supreme Court.
- The U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Elena Kagan writing, rejected that request.
- Judge Bunning's injunction order took effect on Tuesday morning.
- Davis continues to refuse to issue licenses.
Plaintiffs have now filed a motion for contempt against Davis. A hearing will be held in front of Judge Bunning tomorrow in Ashland, Kentucky.
This case has gained national attention. We're fielding media requests from all corners of the country, and the litigation could drag on for years if Davis continues to appeal every order issued by the District Court.
Yesterday, I appeared on the podcast/NPR show BradCast to talk about the clerk case as well as the various legal and political issues at work here in Kentucky as we continue to fight for the right of all couples to marry without penalty or obstruction by the government or by its officials. It was a great time. Thanks to host Brad Friedman for having me on and for asking excellent questions.
You can listen here: