San Francisco Chronicle
U.S. judge orders defiant county clerk, staff to court
MOREHEAD, Ky. — A county clerk who invoked “God’s authority” as she defied the U.S. Supreme Court yet again on gay marriage Tuesday refused to resign and now must face a federal judge who could impose fines or send her to jail.
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis turned away several gay and lesbian couples who sought marriage licenses — some for a fifth time — even though the Supreme Court denied her last-ditch appeal the night before.
“To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision,” she said through her lawyers.
“I was elected by the people to serve as the County Clerk. I intend to continue to serve the people of Rowan County, but I cannot violate my conscience,” her statement said.
April Miller and Karen Roberts tried first, trailed by dozens of television cameras. A deputy clerk said no licenses would be issued, and declined to make Davis available.
David Moore and David Ermold, a couple for 17 years, then came in, demanding to speak with Davis.
“Tell her to come out and face the people she’s discriminating against!” Ermold shouted.
Davis then retreated behind a closed door, sheltered from questions and rival demonstrations.
“Praise the Lord! ... Stand your ground,” her supporters shouted, while the other side called Davis a bigot and yelled: “Do your job!” Ordered to move to the courthouse lawn, each side tried to outdo the other with chanting, hymn-singing and sign-waving.
Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses in June after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage across the nation.
The clerk’s husband, Joe Davis, came by Tuesday to check on his wife.
He said he’s proud of her commitment to her faith, and compared her to the biblical figures Paul and Silas, sent to prison and rescued by God.
Davis has received death threats, he added, but he called himself a Second Amendment believer. “I’m an old redneck hillbilly, that’s all I’ve got to say. Don’t come knocking on my door.”