Kim Davis is back at work after six days in jail, but she still refuses to issue marriage licenses to anyone in Rowan County, Kentucky.
Davis, the devoutly Christian county clerk who has become a political mascot in the standoff over marriage equality in the United States, said at a press conference on Monday morning that she could not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She will not, however, block her deputy clerks from doing so.
“I am here before you this morning with a seemingly impossible choice, which I do not wish on any of my fellow Americans,” Davis said. “My conscience or my freedom.”
“My conscience or my ability to serve the people that I love,” added Davis, who appeared to be on the edge of tears. “Obey God or a directive that forces me to disobey God.”
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U.S. District Judge David Bunning released Davis—who defied multiple court orders requiring her to issue marriage licenses—from jail last week on the condition that she “not interfere in any way” with her deputy clerks’ ability to issue marriage licenses to eligible couples.
“Davis shall not interfere in any way, directly or indirectly, with the efforts of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples,” Bunning wrote. “If Defendant Davis should interfere in any way with their issuance, that will be considered a violation of this Order and appropriate sanctions will be considered.”
“I love my deputy clerks, and I hate that they have been caught in the middle,” Davis told the press on Monday, while insisting that she simply wants to live a “quiet” life. “If any of them feels that they must issue an unauthorized license to avoid being thrown in jail, I understand their tough choice and I will take no action against them.”
Davis maintains, however, that all marriage licenses issued by her deputies are “unauthorized.” These licenses, she said, “will not have my name, my title or my authority on it. Instead, the license will state that they are issued pursuant to a federal court order.”
Andrew Couts is the former editor of Layer 8, a section dedicated to the intersection of the Internet and the state—and the gaps in between. Prior to the Daily Dot, Couts served as features editor and features writer for Digital Trends, associate editor of TheWeek.com, and associate editor at Maxim magazine. When he’s not working, Couts can be found hiking with his German shepherds or blasting around on motorcycles.