Ky. clerk jailed for denying marriage licenses


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By Portia Williams

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ASHLAND, Ky. — Rowan County, Ky. Clerk, Kimberly B. Davis appeared in Federal Carl Perkins Federal Building, 1405 Greenup Ave., in Ashland, Ky., on Thursday, in the courtroom of Judge David L.Bunning. Bunning ordered Davis to jail, and charged her with contempt of court for her refusal to issue marriage licenses, which Davis claims to conflict with her religious beliefs and convictions.

Kentuck Gov. Steve Beshear issued a statement regarding Bunning’s decision.

“Judge Bunning’s decision today speaks for itself. The future of the Rowan County Clerk continues to be a matter between her and the courts. Deputy clerks have said they will commence issuing marriage licenses beginning tomorrow. It appears that the citizens of Rowan County will now have access to all the services from the clerk’s office to which they are entitled,” Beshear said.

Beshear said it is not within his power to relieve any county clerk of their statutory duty due to the legislature.

“Again, the legislature has placed the authority to issue marriage licenses squarely on county clerks by statute, and I have no legal authority to relieve them of their statutory duty by executive order,” Beshear said. “The General Assembly will convene in just four months and can make any statutory changes it deems necessary at that time. I see no need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money calling a special session of the General Assembly when 117 of 120 county clerks are doing their jobs.”

Court officials at the Carl Perkins Federal Building in Ashland, Ky., told The Portsmouth Daily Times Judge Bunning was not available for comment, and that he would be releasing court records regarding Davis’s case very soon.

Officials from the Carter County Detention Center confirmed that Davis is presently lodged in their facility on charges of contempt of court, and have no information regarding her release.

Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.

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