Judge orders Kim Davis released from jail

A judge says Kim Davis is free—if she’s willing to change her ways.

The county clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, who went to jail for refusing a court’s instruction to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, was offered release Tuesday afternoon, according to multiple news sources.

Davis was arrested Thursday after being held in contempt of court when she still ignored a court order to cease her standoff against marriage equality. Under her authority, she had made Rowan County what is believed to be the last county in the U.S. that refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. A June Supreme Court ruling found state-level bans on gay marriage unconstitutional.

“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.”

In an attempt to skirt the law, Davis had ceased issuing marriage licenses to any couples—not just same-sex couples—and she forbade her deputy clerks from issuing marriage licenses as well.

In his ruling to free her, Bunning insisted Davis no longer try to stop gay couples from marrying—but he seemed to assume she’d take the deal.

“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,” he 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.”

Davis identifies as an Apostolic Christian, and she has said she’s acting “under God’s authority” when she denied the marriage licenses. 

It’s not clear she’ll actually take Bunning up on his offer. In fact, according to CNN’s Martin Savidge, Davis’s lawyers said she plans to violate the judge’s order.

Regardless of Bunning’s fate, gay couples are no longer prevented from marrying in Rowan County. Several whom Davis had repeatedly turned down received marriage licenses in her absence.

Update 1:45pm CT, Sept. 8: Kim Davis is a free woman.

Photo via Carter County Detention Center | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III

Kevin Collier

Kevin Collier

A former senior politics reporter for the Daily Dot, Kevin Collier focuses on privacy, cybersecurity, and issues of importance to the open internet. Since leaving the Daily Dot in March 2016, he has served as a reporter for Vocativ and a cybersecurity correspondent for BuzzFeed.