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ACLU of Kentucky Says Rowan County Marriage Licenses May Be Invalid

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The ACLU of Kentucky says the marriage license issued Monday to a same-sex couple in Rowan County may be invalid.

The form had been altered to remove the name and title of County Clerk Kim Davis.

Lexington residents Shannon and Carmen Wampler-Collins on Monday received a marriage license from a Rowan County deputy clerk. In the spot where Davis’ name and title would have gone, the document read: “Pursuant to Federal Court Order.”

"We have concerns about the validity of the marriage licenses issued yesterday given the further alteration of the forms," the national ACLU's James Esseks said in a statement.

"We brought this case to ensure that our clients and all eligible couples could legally marry in Rowan County," said Esseks, director of the national ACLU's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project. "We are reviewing the changes to determine our next steps."

The ACLU of Kentucky is representing four couples who are suing Davis for refusing to issue marriage licenses.

Though some legal experts say the documents appear to be official, Davis and her attorneys have said the licenses are invalid because they don’t bear the clerk's name and title.

But on Monday, Gov. Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway said they believe the licenses are valid, according to the Associated Press.

Davis returned to work on Monday for the first time since she was jailed earlier this month by a federal judge. The judge had held her in contempt for her refusal to issue marriage licenses.

Davis stopped issuing the documents in June following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision that legalized same-sex marriage. She's said issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples violates her deeply held religious beliefs.

Deputy clerks in Davis' office began issuing licenses during the five-day period she was jailed. On Monday, Davis said she would not stop the issuance of those documents.

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