Guillaume Paumier/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Mike/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed

Kentucky clerk jailed for refusing marriage licenses to same-sex couples

'Government officials are free to disagree with the law, but not disobey it.'


Patrick Howell O'Neill


Published Sep 3, 2015   Updated May 28, 2021, 1:08 am CDT

The Kentucky county clerk who refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples was found to be in contempt on court on Thursday and put in jail, according to the Associated Press.

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Kim Davis, the Rowan County Clerk, was found in contempt by U.S. District Judge David L. Bunning. Davis, an Apostolic Christian, has said she was acting “under God’s authority” by refusing marriage licenses.

“I think it’s absurd to put people in jail for executing their religious beliefs,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, said on CNN minutes after Davis was taken into custody.

“Government officials are free to disagree with the law, but not disobey it.”

Earlier on Thursday, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, another 2016 GOP candidate, said Davis is following Kentucky law. Huckabee called the court’s actions “judicial tyranny.”

Kentucky’s constitutional amendment was recently overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court which legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. The Supreme Court later denied Davis’ right to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couple on religious-freedom grounds.

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“Government officials are free to disagree with the law, but not disobey it,” U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey said.

Davis will be released if and when she agrees to issue marriage licenses to both gay and straight couples, Judge Bunning said.

H/T AP | Photo via Guillaume Paumier/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) |Mike/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed 

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*First Published: Sep 3, 2015, 2:34 pm CDT