A Kentucky county clerk, Kim Davis, was jailed today after a judge found her in contempt of court for her refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses, but five of her deputies said under oath they would comply with the court's order to issue the licenses.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning ruled against the Rowan County clerk before deputy marshals removed her from the courtroom this morning, and later said he expected the deputies to comply despite Davis' refusal to authorize them to do so.
Bunning said Davis could be released from federal custody if she complies with the order to resume issuing licenses in the county. She has refused to issue marriage licenses to anyone, arguing that such a move was a way around discriminating against same-sex couples.
The ACLU had asked that she be fined but the judge said he didn’t believe that was enough to force her into action.
Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, which is representing Davis, said in a statement, “Everyone is stunned at this development. Kim Davis is being treated as a criminal because she cannot violate her conscience. While she may be behind bars for now, Kim Davis is a free woman. Her conscience remains unshackled.”
Other supporters include GOP presidential candidate Mike Hukabee, a former Arkanas governor, who tweeted:
Kim Davis in federal custody removes all doubts about the criminalization of Christianity in this country. We must defend #ReligiousLiberty!— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) September 3, 2015
The controversy surrounding her refusal played out today in court, where the judge had told her to appear after the Supreme Court this week refused to intervene in an appeals court’s affirmation that she issue the licenses.
The crowd of marriage equality supporters that had gathered outside of the courthouse in Ashland, Kentucky, began to cheer as the news spread.
Davis was called to testify at today's hearing and she reiterated that she believes issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples is against her religious beliefs, even though she has been ordered to do so as a result of an earlier Supreme Court ruling.
"My conscience will not allow me," she said several times during her testimony.
On the stand she was quiet, almost whispering, and teared up when talking about her religious beliefs.
"I did a lot of vile and wicked things in my past," Davis said when asked about her life before becoming a Christian in 2011.