A federal judge has ordered a Kentucky clerk to be placed behind bars until she complies with his order to issue marriage licenses to homosexuals despite her Christian identity.
US District Judge David Bunning, appointed to the bench by then-president George W. Bush, declared Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in contempt of court this morning after she explained in tears that it is not possible for her to comply with the order because of her Christianity.
“My conscience will not allow it,” she said. “God’s moral law convicts me and conflicts with my duties.”
While the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had requested that Davis be heavily fined until she bends, Bunning told the court that a monetary punishment would not be enough to force her to obey, and expressed concern that supporters would help pay her fine.
“I don’t do this lightly,” he said. “It’s necessary in this case.”
Davis was then taken into custody by U.S. marshals and led out of the courthouse.
“Thank you, judge,” she stated as she was being escorted from the room.
Both supporters and opponents of Davis gathered outside of the courthouse to speak their mind on the matter.
“This is so ugly,” demonstrator Ashley Hogue told the Associated Press, speaking of those who came to support Davis and preach the gospel.
“We don’t hate these people,” replied Charles Ramsey. “We wouldn’t tell them how to get saved if we hated them.”
As previously reported, Davis has been the subject of a federal suit filed by the ACLU on behalf of two homosexuals and their partners, and well as two opposite-sex couples, after she declined to issue any marriage licenses of any kind following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.
Last month, Bunning ruled in the ACLU case, making similar statements as Beshear—that Davis may have the free exercise of religion in her private life, but limited her Christian identity on the job to a mental belief as opposed to an inseparable, inviolable lifestyle that excludes her from being a facilitator of other men’s sins. (1 Timothy 5:22)
Her attorneys then appealed the order, but the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Bunning denying the desired stay. The U.S. Supreme Court likewise rejected the stay request on Monday.
As Davis continued to refuse to issue the licenses, the ACLU filed a motion to hold her in contempt of court and she was ordered to appear on Thursday.
“Neither your oath nor the Supreme Court dictates what you must believe. But as elected officials, they do prescribe how we must act,” he wrote.Gov. Beshear, a professing Christian, has refused to assist Davis, declining to call a special session of the General Assembly over the matter despite requests from lawmakers. Davis sued Beshear, a Democrat, several weeks ago after he declared in a letter that all county clerks must issue licenses to homosexuals despite their Christian ethos.
At least two other clerks in the state, Casey Davis of Casey County and Kenny Brown in Boone County, are likewise declining to issue licenses because of their Christian convictions. Davis’ case has been the most prominent and the pending punishment most severe.
“I’ve weighed the cost and I’m prepared to go to jail. I sure am,” Davis told Fox reporter Todd Starnes on Wednesday. “This has never been a gay or lesbian issue for me. This is about upholding the word of God. This is a Heaven or Hell issue for me and for every other Christian that believes. This is a fight worth fighting.”
Davis said that Christianity is not a mere belief, but a total lifestyle resulting from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
“I don’t leave my conscience and my Christian soul out in my vehicle and come in here and pretend to be something I’m not,” she stated. “It’s easy to talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?”
Davis became a Christian in 2011 after living apart from Christ in a sinful lifestyle that resulted in several divorces. She said in a statement earlier this week that it was her mother-in-law’s dying wish that she attend church, which led to her repentance and faith in Christ. Davis states that those who are now criticizing her are welcome to repent of their sin and be born again just as she did four years ago.
“All I can say to them is if they have a sordid past like what I had, they too can receive the cleansing and renewing, and they can start a fresh life and they can be different,” Davis told Starnes. “They don’t have to remain in their sin. There’s hope for tomorrow.”