Kentucky county clerk says she won’t interfere with gay-marriage licenses


Shannon Wampler-Collins, left, and Carmen Wampler-Collins speak to the media after obtaining a marriage license at the Rowan County Courthouse on Monday in Morehead, Ky. Carmen Wampler-Collins and Shannon Wamper-Collins were the first couple to marry while Kim Davis was back at work. 

By Michael Muskal, Los Angeles Times

A Kentucky county clerk announced Monday that she would not interfere with her office granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples, ending, for now, a confrontation that put her behind bars for five days for defying a federal judge.

As she returned to her office Monday, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis read a statement saying she would not interfere with her deputies issuing the licenses, but would not personally authorize any marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

“I don’t want to have this conflict. I don’t want to be in the spotlight. And I certainly don’t want to be a whipping post,” Davis said during televised remarks. “I am no hero. I’m just a person that’s been transformed by the grace of God, who wants to work, be with my family. I just want to serve my neighbors quietly without violating my conscience.”


District Judge David L. Bunning earlier this month surprised many by sending Davis to jail for contempt after she failed to follow his order to issue marriage licenses to all couples, including gays.

On Sept. 8, the judge found that her deputies had issued the licenses, so the contempt citation was cleared and Davis was let out of jail with a sharp warning that if she interfered in the issuance of the licenses, she would be returned to a cell.

The bottom line for Davis is that if she tries to block the marriage licenses, she could be sent back to jail. If she accepts that her office is issuing the licenses, she could disappoint many of her fundamentalist Christian supporters who have backed her stand against same-sex marriage based on her religious beliefs.

“I don’t know exactly what she is going to do,” Mat Staver, her attorney, told CNN on Sunday. “That is Kim’s ultimate decision.”

Staver is the founder and CEO of Liberty Counsel, which identifies itself as a Christian ministry “dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.”

Its opponents, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, have called it an anti-LGBT group.

Davis’ stand against issuing the marriage licenses has attracted support from sources across the conservative spectrum, including GOP presidential hopefuls Mike Huckabee and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.


Huckabee, a former Baptist minister who often reaches out to religious conservatives, said Davis exercised her religious freedom by denying the marriage licenses.

“If somebody has to go to jail, I’m willing to go in her place. I believe that,” said Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, who escorted Davis from the jail to a victory rally last week. “She has shown more courage than any politician I know. She not only said something, she was willing to put her life at risk.”

Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses the day after the U.S. Supreme Court in June held that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.

An Apostolic Christian, Davis said her religious beliefs prevented her from giving a marriage license to gays so she stopped issuing licenses to all couples.

Two gay and two straight couples sued Davis, who lost on the district court and appellate court levels. The Supreme Court refused to hear her appeal.

Those decisions set up her appearance on Sept. 3 before Bunning, who could have fined Davis. Instead, he chose to have her jailed until she was willing to comply with his order to issue the licenses.

Davis never did, but five of her deputies agreed to issue the licenses. The sixth deputy, Davis’ son, Nathan, followed his mother and refused to issue the licenses.

The judge noted that the licenses had been altered so that Rowan County, rather than the name Kim Davis, appeared on the documents. It was unclear whether that change would be enough to satisfy Davis.

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