Lawyers for Kim Davis — the Kentucky county clerk who spent six days in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples — have filed an appeal to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals asking to reverse rulings they claimed trampled her religious rights.
The new appeal seeks to reverse four rulings by U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning, decisions that Davis’ attorneys called “a rush to judgment that promoted expediency over due process.”
Specifically, Davis’ legal team wants the appeals court to overturn Bunning’s original injunction that she issue same-sex marriage licenses and his order holding her in contempt of court for refusing to do so.
The Rowan County clerk has refused to give licenses to same-sex couples despite the Supreme Court’s decision in June that legalized same-sex marriage across the country. She claims that doing so would violate her Christian convictions against same-sex marriage.
She has consistently lost in her efforts in U.S. courts, including repeatedly before the 6th Circuit’s appeals court.
While lampooned by critics calling her a hypocrite who doesn’t respect U.S. law, Davis has become an icon among those championing the “religious freedom” cause. They have lauded her willingness to not relent in her conviction that gay and lesbian couples should not legally marry, at least not with her assent — no matter what American courts and the powers-that-be say.
“Kim Davis wasn’t looking for this fight,” said Tony Perkins, head of the conservative Family Research Council that gave the 49-year-old county clerk its Cost of Discipleship Award earlier this year. “But she is not running from it, either.”
Davis spent time in jail after refusing to issue marriage licenses bearing her name to same-sex couples in Rowan County and for refusing to allow deputy clerks in her office to issue such licenses.
Davis was released September 8 under the condition that she would not interfere with her deputies issuing marriage license to all legally eligible couples. That would involve, as Bunning understood it, issuing licenses that had been “altered so that ‘Rowan County’ rather than ‘Kim Davis’ appears on the line reserved for the name of the county clerk.”
But one deputy clerk later expressed concern that the licenses being issued were possibly invalid. The altered licenses — while not bearing Davis’ name — also had no county name on them and no reference to a clerk or deputy clerk.
“(Deputy clerk Brian Mason) is trying to follow the court’s mandate as well as his superior ordering him to issue only these changed forms,” said Mason’s lawyer, Richard Hughes, referring to Davis as his client’s boss. “… It also appears to this counsel those changes were made in some attempt to circumvent the court’s orders and may have raised to the level of interference against court’s orders.”