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Hearing Today in Lawsuit Against County Clerk Refusing to Issue Marriage Licenses

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A preliminary hearing for a lawsuit against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis will take place Monday at noon in Ashland. Davis is being sued by four Rowan County couples who were denied marriage licenses.

Citing her religious convictions, Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses after the Supreme Court lifted same-sex marriage bans across the U.S.

The plaintiffs in the case, represented by the ACLU of Kentucky, are requesting monetary damages and an injunction requiring Davis to immediately resume issuing marriage licenses.

The plaintiffs are also seeking class action status so that other counties that have stopped issuing marriage licenses would be forced to comply.

The case will be heard by U.S. District Judge David Bunning, son of former U.S. Sen.Jim Bunning. The case was originally assigned to U.S. District Judge Henry Wilhoit, who recused himself for unknown reasons.

According to the plaintiffs in the case, Davis violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause by withholding marriage licenses because of her religious convictions. They also allege that Davis violated the Fourteenth Amendment by denying them equal protection under the law.

“By adopting a policy to withhold issuing marriage licenses to all individuals otherwise eligible to marry, Defendant Davis acted maliciously, with callous disregard for, or with reckless indifference to the clearly established rights of the named Plaintiffs,” the complaint states.

If the injunction is granted, the judge would order to comply with the law. If Davis did not comply she could be fined or jailed.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. Email Ryland at rbarton@lpm.org.