Kentucky’s Rowan County Court Clerk, Kimberly Davis, is still refusing to issue marriage licenses to any couple today, including same-sex couples, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling against her last night, and now a motion for contempt of court has been filed against her.
After same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide in late June, Davis filed a suit in federal court, arguing that she should be excused from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on the basis of her “Christian faith.” Since then, she has refused to hand out marriage licenses to same-sex and opposite-sex couples altogether.
A District Court and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals have previously ruled against her and ordered her to issue marriage licenses. On Monday night, in a one-page order, the Supreme Court refused Davis’ request for a stay, which was a request to put the lower court’s ruling on hold pending appeal.
Davis walked into the office today a little after 7 a.m. today, telling reporters that she “most certainly” made a decision and that “God is good, God is good.”
Half an hour after the office opened, Davis told ABC News, “No marriage license will be issued today in the county, pending the appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals,” before she slipped into her office with the door and blinds closed.
April Miller and Karen Roberts, who are one of the couples the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is representing in a lawsuit against Davis, walked into the office as soon as it opened and were told by an employee that no licenses would be issued and refused to make Davis available.
A second couple, David Moore and David Ermold, walked up, were rejected a fourth time and demanded to speak with Davis, who then emerged from her office.
“We’re not leaving until we have a license,” Ermold said.
“Then you’re going to have a long day,” Davis responded as her supporters in the back of the room said, “Praise the Lord!” and “Stand your ground.”
Davis also said her office was acting “under God’s authority.”
Opponents shouted she was “a bigot” who needed to do her job.
Moore asked at one point that the police be called and that Davis be arrested.
“You should be ashamed of yourself,” he said. “Everyone in this office should be ashamed of themselves. Is this what you want to remember? … That your children have to look at you and have to realize that you’re bigots and you discriminate against people?”
Timothy D. Easley/AP Photo PHOTO: A gathering of same sex marriage supporters, left, and supporters of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, right, face off in front of the Rowan County Courthouse, Sept. 1, 2015, in Morehead, Ky.
“I feel like I’ve been humiliated on such a national level,” Ermold said.
By 9:30 a.m., at least four couples were refused, including James Yates and Will Smith Jr., who faced a fifth rejection at the office and left teary-eyed and shaking.
At 9:40 a.m., Davis’ husband, Joe Davis, arrived at the Rowan County courthouse to check on his wife, saying at one point, “I’m an old redneck hillbilly, that’s all I’ve got to say. Don’t come knocking on my door.”
Davis compared his wife to the biblical figures Paul and Silas, sent to prison and rescued by God.
Timothy D. Easley/AP Photo PHOTO:Karen Roberts, left, and her partner, April Miller, speak to Assistant Rowan County Clerk Kim Russell as they attempt to get a marriage license, Sept. 1, 2015, at the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky.
“They want us to accept their beliefs and their ways,” he said while pointing at one of the protesters advocating rights for same-sex couples, “but they won’t accept our beliefs and our ways.”
Lawyers for some of the rejected couples and the ACLU of Kentucky have now filed a contempt motion, asking U.S. District Judge David Bunning to hold Davis in contempt of court and that the court “impose financial penalties sufficiently serious and increasingly onerous to compel Davis’ immediate compliance without further delay.”
Bunning has called Davis and all her deputy clerks for a federal court hearing on Thursday at 11 a.m. in Ashland, according to Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins.
At the hearing, Bunning will likely ask for the couples to present evidence, which could include testimony from Davis herself. Bunning will then decide on a punishment, which could include fines, jail time or both. The current contempt motion filed, however, asks the judge to impose only financial penalties.
In a statement today, Davis noted: “Some people have said I should resign, but I have done my job well.”
“In addition to my desire to serve the people of Rowan County, I owe my life to Jesus Christ who loves me and gave His life for me,” Davis added.
“I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage. To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience,” she said. “It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision. For me it is a decision of obedience. I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God’s Word. It is a matter of religious liberty, which is protected under the First Amendment, the Kentucky Constitution, and in the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.