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Defying Judge's Order, Rowan County Clerk Denies Marriage License To Same-Sex Couple

A same-sex couple has been denied a marriage license in Rowan County one day after a federal judge ruled that the clerk there had to resume issuing marriage licenses to couples, no matter their sexual orientation.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June, saying doing so would violate her religious beliefs.

At least two county clerks in Kentucky are also refusing to issue marriage licenses as a result of the ruling.

Four Rowan County couples represented by the ACLU of Kentucky are suing Davis for denying them marriage licenses. U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning ruled Wednesday that Davis’ religious convictions don’t excuse her from performing duties as an elected official.

ACLU attorney Dan Canon said Davis’ disregard of the judge’s ruling isn’t surprising.

“She’s already ignored the mandate of the Supreme Court of the United States and ignored a direct order from the executive of Kentucky, that being Gov. Beshear, so this should come as a surprise to no one,” Canon said. “An individual elected official doesn’t get to govern an entire county according to his or her private religious beliefs. That’s just not the way we do things here.”

Davis and her attorneys immediately appealed Bunning's ruling to the 6th District Court and requested that the judge stay his decision in the meantime.

Bunning has not yet ruled on the stay request, so it’s unclear whether couples will be able to obtain marriage licenses in Rowan County.

An attorney representing Davis, Roger Gannam, said Bunning’s ruling orders Davis to violate her own religious beliefs.

“We believe that no one has a right to force any particular person to issue a marriage license,” Gannam said.

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