same-sex marriage


Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis said she will run for reelection next year. One of the men who was denied a license by Davis in 2015 is considering running against her.  

Following the Supreme Court decision that effectively legalized same-sex marriage, Davis disobeyed a court order to issue marriage licenses on the grounds of her religious beliefs. 

Five couples sued her and she spent five days in jail.

Her first term as clerk of Rowan County ends next year and attorney Matt Staver said she will run again.

Ryland Barton

A judge has once again ruled that Kentucky has to pay the legal fees of those who successfully sued Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in 2015 after she refused to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The decision comes after Gov. Matt Bevin asked U.S. District Judge David Bunning to reconsider an order for Kentucky to pay the plaintiffs about $224,000 in fees.

In an order issued Monday, Bunning said that the governor’s office “simply — and improperly — re-argued matters that have previously been decided.”

Ryland Barton

A county clerk in Kentucky who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples last year is asking a federal judge not to make her pay legal fees for the couples who sued her.

Attorneys for the couples who sued Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis asked U.S. District Judge David Bunning to award them about $233,000 in legal fees and costs.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Davis' lawyers urged Bunning in a response Monday to deny the request.

Roger K. Gannam of Liberty Counsel, the religious advocacy organization that represented Davis, wrote that the case was resolved in the legislature and the couples aren't entitled to legal fees.

Jeffrey C. Mando, a Rowan County attorney, said in a separate response that the county government shouldn't be forced to pay anything.

Ryland Barton

The Kentucky attorney general's office says a county clerk who went to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples has violated the state's Open Records Act.

In an opinion Tuesday, the attorney general's office said Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis violated the act by refusing to produce documents related to the gay marriage battle.

The Lexington Herald-Leader said the nonprofit Campaign for Accountability requested records between Davis and her attorneys, Liberty Counsel, on March 1.

Liberty Counsel refused, saying the documents are preliminary and private.

The Open Records Act provides for costs and attorney's fees to be awarded in some cases as well as up to $25 per day for each day the person is denied access to the record. Liberty Counsel can appeal the opinion.

Kentucky Clerk Asks Court to Dismiss Gay Marriage Lawsuit

Jun 21, 2016
Ryland Barton

A Kentucky clerk who spent five days in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples is asking a federal appeals court to dismiss a lawsuit against her.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis says a new state law taking effect next month should be applied retroactively.

Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling effectively legalized gay marriage last year. Two gay couples and two straight couples sued her. A federal judge ordered herto issue the licenses, but she refused and went to jail.

The Kentucky legislature approved a new law in April removing the county clerks' names and authorizations from state marriage licenses. Davis said the law accommodates her religious beliefs and makes the lawsuit against her unnecessary.

A hearing has been set for next month.

Judge: Kim Davis Obeying Orders In Gay Marriage Case

Feb 10, 2016
Ryland Barton

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Kentucky clerk Kim Davis has obeyed his orders in the months since she spent five nights in jail for refusing to license same-sex marriages.

United States District Judge David Bunning wrote that Davis has allowed her deputies to issue marriage licenses and dismissed a request from the American Civil Liberties Union to consider ordering her to reissue licenses she altered to remove her name.

After the United States Supreme Court legalized gay marriage last summer, Davis refused to allow her office to issue marriage licenses. She relented during a turbulent court battle, but altered the licenses.

The ACLU asked the judge to make her reissue the marriage licenses.

Bunning on Tuesday found that request to be “moot”; he said the altered licenses are valid.

Flickr/Creative Commons/JoshuaMHoover

A federal judge awarded a team of Kentucky attorneys more than $1 million for their role in the landmark United States Supreme Court case that struck down bans on same-sex marriage.

The state will have to pick up the $1.1 million tab.

The lawsuit was initiated by Louisville couples at first seeking the state to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. Later, same-sex couples seeking the ability to be married in Kentucky joined the suit.

In 2014, U.S. District Judge John Heyburn ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Attorney General Jack Conway refused to appeal. But former Gov. Steve Beshear hired outside attorneys to continue defending the ban.

The case, and others like it, made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which effectively legalized same-sex marriage last summer.

U.S. District Judge Charles R. Simpson ordered Wednesday that the losing party, the state, will have to pay the fees and expenses for attorneys who fought successfully on behalf of Kentucky gay couples.

The plaintiffs attorneys included Laura Landenwich, Dan Canon, Dawn Elliott, Joe Dunman and Shannon Fauver, all based in Louisville.

Ryland Barton

This story has been updated.

A federal judge has ordered Gov. Steve Beshear to weigh in on whether altered marriage licenses issued by Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis are valid.

Last month, the ACLU of Kentucky asked the court to enforce an earlier order for Davis to resume issuing the forms. The ACLU said modifications Davis made to the license after that order rendered the documents invalid.

She refuses to issue marriage licenses personally. She’s said her religious convictions prevent her from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Following the landmark Supreme Court ruling this summer effectively legalizing same-sex marriage, Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether to avoid being accused of discrimination, she said. Last month, U.S. District Judge David Bunning sent Davis to jail for five days after she refused to issue the licenses; she was freed after her deputy clerks resumed issuing the forms.

When she returned to work, Davis removed her own name and title from the license that deputies issued, instead inserting: “Pursuant to Federal Court Order #15-CV-44 DLB.”

In a court filing last month, a lawyer for Deputy Rowan County Clerk Brian Mason questioned the validity of the altered licenses.

Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who spent five days in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, is once again being accused of hampering the processing of marriage forms, according to new court filings.

The court documents, filed by the American Civil Liberty Union attorneys who are representing couples who sued Davis, state that she is not complying with a court order that prohibits her from interfering with deputy clerks when they issue licenses to eligible couples. Davis' actions "render their validity questionable at best," the documents say.

Ryland Barton

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis will be released from an Eastern Kentucky jail, provided she does not interfere with the issuance of marriage licenses by her deputies.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered Davis into the custody of U.S. Marshals on Thursday. Davis had refused to issue marriage licenses since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June. She’s said issuing the documents to same-sex couples violates her deeply held religious beliefs.

Last month, Bunning ordered Davis to resume issuing marriage licenses, but she remained defiant. Several of the deputy clerks in her office began issuing marriage licenses to all couples on Friday.

On Tuesday, Bunning ordered Davis to be released from the Carter County Detention Center. But he wrote that she could not interfere with her deputy clerks issuing the documents.

Davis’ fight against same-sex marriage has drawn national attention to the small towns of Grayson — where she was jailed — and Morehead, where she works.

On Tuesday, Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz were expected in Grayson.

Matt Bevin, the Republican candidate for governor, has also planned a visit.

Eyder is reporting today from Morehouse, Ky.

In what was an emotional and contentious scene at the Rowan County, Ky., Courthouse this morning, one dramatic legal standoff came to an end when a gay couple was issued a marriage license.

James Yates and William Smith, who had tried this five times before, arrived at the courthouse just as the sun started peeking out from under the mountains on the horizon.

They walked past protesters — some condemning them and some cheering them — and entered the clerk's office.

Update 6:21 p.m.: Gov. Beshear Again Says No To Special Session For Clerks Bill

In a statement released Thursday evening, Gov. Steve Beshear again said he would not call a special session for the General Assembly to consider legislation that would relieve county clerks of the obligation to issue marriage licenses.

The legislative effort, which has support in both political parties, is a response to Kim Davis’ ongoing refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

A federal judge ordered a defiant county clerk to jail for contempt Thursday after she insisted that it would violate her conscience to follow court orders to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis and her deputy clerks were summoned to appear before U.S. District Judge David Bunning after she repeatedly denied them marriage licenses, cited her religious beliefs and “God’s authority.”

Ryland Barton

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis will be back in federal court Thursday morning in Ashland. For the past several days, she has defied a federal judge's order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, saying her religious views prevent her from signing off on them.

An appeals court and the U.S. Supreme Court have declined to interject on her behalf. So today's hearing will determine whether Davis is in contempt of U.S. District Judge David Bunning's order last month to resume issuing marriage licenses. She could be fined or even put in jail.

This week, Davis spent much of her days with her office door shut and the blinds down, avoiding people and the media spotlight.

Under normal circumstances, Davis' is responsible for mundane tasks — vehicle registration renewals, running elections — for a county of fewer than 24,000 residents. But this summer, she's found herself at the center of a national controversy.

So who is Kim Davis?

The 49-year-old Democrat was first elected to this post in November. She replaced her mother, Jean Bailey, who served as county clerk for 37 years.

Ludovic Bertron, Wikimedia Commons

The controversy continues to swirl around Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis and her repeated defying of court orders to issue marriage licenses based on her religious opposition to gay marriage. 

The director of The Fairness Campaign in Kentucky Chris Hartman was in Rowan County this week when several couples were denied marriage licenses and saw how devastated they were. 

“It’s a dehumanizing, demeaning and demoralizing feeling to be told over and over and over again that you are so different and I am so opposed to you that I simply cannot give you the basic right the Supreme Court of the United States has twice affirmed you deserve,” said Hartman.

Hartman said there are only three county clerks refusing to issue marriage licenses out of the 120 clerks in the state. He said he thinks that if those three clerks can’t do their jobs, they should step aside. 

“They’re getting paid to do a job," said Hartman. "They were elected to do that job. The folks of Rowan County and everywhere else deserve to have their basic rights met and these marriage licenses delivered and if they can’t do they need to step aside and let someone who fulfill their role who can.”

Kim Davis and the six deputy clerks in Rowan County have been summoned to a contempt hearing Thursday in Ashland.