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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 16, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 42
Judge to Kentucky governor: Tell me Rowan County marriage licenses are valid
Section One
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Judge to Kentucky governor: Tell me Rowan County marriage licenses are valid

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A federal judge has ordered Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear to confirm whether marriage licenses issued by Rowan County are valid even if they lack the name of county clerk Kim Davis and the name of the county.

Davis, who served time in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses at all, was released after agreeing to allow her deputy clerks to issue them. She removed her name and the name of Rowan County from the forms, however, raising the question whether the altered forms are still legal.

Beshear's spokesperson Terry Sebastian told the Associated Press that Kentucky recognizes the licenses and that the governor would file a formal confirmation of that with the court.

In September, the ACLU asked U.S. District Judge David Bunning - the judge who jailed Davis for contempt of court - to order Davis to reissue the licenses in their original form, with Davis' and the county's name.

In their reply on October 13, Davis' attorneys charged that the civil rights group was trying to 'needlessly create controversy where it does not currently exist.'

The next day Bunning ordered Beshear to decide definitively whether the altered licenses were legal or not.

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell legalized same-sex marriage, Davis claimed that she had a First Amendment right not to issue marriage licenses to Gay or Lesbian couples because her religion disapproves of homosexuality.

Bunning ordered her to comply with the Supreme Court decision, however, and Beshear sent a directive to all 120 of Kentucky's county clerks instructing them to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

Davis ultimately spent 10 days in jail for refusing to follow court orders to issue licenses and was released only after promising not to interfere when her deputy clerks issued them.

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