Kentucky official held in contempt for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses

Kentucky official held in contempt for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses

[JURIST] A US district court judge on Thursday held Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis in contempt of court for her continued refusal [response, PDF] to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The ruling by District Judge David Bunning came after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a motion to hold her in contempt [press release; text, PDF] earlier this week. Kim Davis, the clerk for Rowan county, has declined to extend marriage licenses to same-sex couples following the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges [opinion, PDF], claiming that to do so would infringe upon her religious beliefs. Despite her religious rights appeal to the US Supreme Court being denied [JURIST report] on Tuesday, Davis has continued to deny the right to marry to same sex couples. As a result of being held in contempt of court, Bunning has jailed Davis until she agrees to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

Introductions of religious exemption bills and refusals to issue licenses have been occurring around the country. In July a federal judge ordered [JURIST report] all Louisiana officials to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Earlier that month a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Alabama issued an order [JURIST report] that all Alabama counties must abide by the Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriage. In June the North Carolina House of Representatives passed a law that would allow some court officials to refuse to perform same-sex marriages based on their religious beliefs, overriding a veto [JURIST reports] by Governor Pat McCroy. In May Louisiana legislatures rejected a religious objections bill [JURIST report] that was pushed by Governor Bobby Jindal. A House legal committee voted 10-2 [AP report] to kill the bill, ending weeks of serious debate. However, in an effort to solicit Christian conservatives for his likely presidential bid in 2016, Jindal immediately responded by issuing an executive order aimed at doing essentially the same thing as the bill, just on a smaller scale.