gay marriage

The Morehead News

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis will have to resume issuing marriage licenses while she is being sued by four local couples who were denied licenses, according to a ruling Wednesday from the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Davis’ defense team is appealing that decision.

In its ruling, the three-judge appeals court panel said there was “little or no likelihood that the Clerk in her official capacity will prevail on appeal.”

Davis’ defense lawyers say they will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

Davis is represented by Liberty Counsel, a non-profit law firm that specializes in religious freedom cases. Its founder and chairman, Mat Staver, says that even though she’s a government official, Davis’ religious freedoms should be upheld. “The implication is that if you work at a government agency you don’t have any religious freedom rights. If that’s the implication that’s staggering and that’s a startling proposition.”

Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses after the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage.

Reluctant Kentucky Clerk Gets Time for Gay Marriage Appeal

Aug 18, 2015

A Kentucky county clerk who objects to same-sex marriage will not have to issue marriage licenses while she takes her case to a federal appeals court.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis is being sued by two gay couples. U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered Davis last week to issue the licenses despite her objections.

On Monday, he granted her request to stay his decision while she pursues her case before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Davis has refused to grant marriage license to anyone in Rowan County since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

Rowan County has filed a response to a lawsuit against the county and its clerk, Kim Davis, who stopped issuing marriage licenses after the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal.

The county says it can’t be held liable for Davis’ actions, noting that the clerk “performs a state function and does not act on behalf of, or set policy for, the county.”

Davis and her attorneys say that her actions are protected by state and federal religious freedom laws, which prevent the state from burdening an individual’s religious beliefs.  The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are seeking damages against the county and Davis.

Rowan County is one of at least two counties that have stopped issuing marriage licenses after the Supreme Court ruling.

A ruling in the suit should come the week of August 11.

Rand Paul Doesn't Know if Clerks Can Deny Gay Marriages

Jul 14, 2015

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul doesn't know whether county clerks in his home state have a constitutional claim to religious liberty in defense of their refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

Paul said he is "not a legal authority on that" and isn't sure whether the clerks have a legitimate objection in their defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling legalizing gay marriage.

He is one of 15 Republicans campaigning for the presidential nomination. Paul stopped at a summer camp in Louisville Monday, just as a federal court hearing began in Ashland over whether clerks can claim a religious exemption to issuing same-sex licenses.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who has stopped issuing licenses altogether to avoid issuing them to gay couples.

Dora James, the Western Kentucky Regional Organizer of the Fairness Campaign, led the 50 or so people at the Federal courthouse in downtown Bowling Green Friday afternoon in a chant of "What do we want?" "Fairness" "When do we want it?" "Now". And for supporters of same-sex marriage, they got that fairness Friday morning when a split U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples have a right to be married anywhere in the country.

The decision reverberated all across the country immediately and all day long up to and including the courthouse where James addressed the rain-soaked crowd saying, "So on this day love won for all Americans including all Kentuckians. This time yesterday there were only 37 states in the country with marriage equality and today there's all 50 of them. So how fantastic is that?"

WKU

WKU Constitutional law scholar Dr. Patty Minter says she wasn't surprised by Friday's ruling, she's just surprised it happened so fast. "The court and nation as a whole have been moving in this direction for some time," she said, "but the speed of it all is what fascinates me."

She told WKU Public Radio that very seldom do you see the central mass shift and a change happen so quickly, but "in the past few years there's been a sea change in the way the American people think about equal rights as they apply to same sex couples and LGBT people as a whole."

She said she expected the ruling to be a split decision since this will be the last time dissenting Justices will get to have their say on the matter and have their opinions published. And she said Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority decision, cemented his place in history.

The ruling means that not only does Kentucky have to allow same sex marriages, the state now also has to recognize as legal same-sex marriages performed in other states.

The decision does not compel religious institutions to perform same-sex marriages if they're morally opposed to it, but Minter says, "This says all people are created equal and now LGBT Americans are included under that umbrella."

The judge whose ruling striking down Kentucky's ban on gay marriage led to an appeal heard this week in the U.S. Supreme Court, has died. He was 66.

WAVE-TV and The Courier-Journal, citing an announcement from the court, are reporting that U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II died Wednesday at home after battling cancer for several years.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement saying Heyburn had delivered opinions in complex cases over more than two decades on the bench but would also be remembered for his devotion to his family.

Last year, Heyburn struck down Kentucky's ban on gay marriage and on recognizing same-sex marriages from outside the state. The rulings were reversed on appeal, but the Supreme Court heard arguments on them Tuesday.

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments Tuesday about whether states have the power to ban same-sex marriage. A dozen couples are challenging the bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Ashley Lopez, WFPL

Kentucky’s case before the Supreme Court started with a conversation between attorneys Shannon Fauver and Dawn Elliott.

As they chatted in Fauver’s Louisville office, the U.S. Supreme Court was considering a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a piece of legislation that was an obstacle to same-sex marriage being made legal in the U.S.

“We were waiting actually for the Supreme Court on the Windsor case and at that point we didn’t know what the ruling was going to be—and they kept postponing,” Fauver said.

“And we were talking about what would happen next, like would be the next steps for anybody to take,” she said. “And we were talking about the fact that someone should file a lawsuit here, and we checked around and no one was talking about it.”

That conversation would lead to lawsuits that have gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Six Kentucky same-sex couples and their attorneys are heading to Washington and the U.S. Supreme Court. Oral arguments for their challenge to the state’s gay marriage ban will be heard by the high court Tuesday.

The twelve Kentuckians—most from Louisville—are asking the nation’s highest court to overturn a circuit court ruling that kept the state’s gay marriage ban intact.

Shannon Fauver and Dawn Elliott from the Fauver law firm in Louisville were the first to file lawsuits challenging the ban. Fauver says she’s still surprised their case got this far, "Dawn and I sit around sometimes and say, ‘look what we started.’ We had no idea this would be the case that goes to the Supreme Court when we started. " she said.

Kentucky’s case is bundled with gay marriage cases from Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.
A ruling from the high court is expected this summer.

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