A clerk who is refusing to issue any marriage licenses because of gay marriage is suing the governor of Kentucky – after he told her to either do her job or resign.
Kim Davis, a Rowan County Clerk, previously revealed that she “prayed and fasted” over her decision to stop issuing marriage licenses to anyone – gay or straight – after marriage equality swept across the US.
Davis was caught on camera last month refusing to provide a marriage licence to a gay couple, and has since been sued by the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) on behalf of four couples – two gay and two straight – in a class action lawsuit.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Davis filed a lawsuit against Governor Steve Beshear for infringing on her religious freedom after he instructed his state’s county clerks to either issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples or resign.
Davis argues that she should have been allowed to opt out of issuing the licenses due to her moral stance on homosexuality.
Her lawsuit reads: “The Commonwealth of Kentucky, acting through Governor Beshear, has deprived Davis of her religious-conscience rights guaranteed by the United States and Kentucky constitutions and laws, by insisting that Davis issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples contrary to her conscience, based on her sincerely held religious beliefs.”
The purpose of the suit is to allow Davis to be protected from further litigation by the state’s religious freedom laws. She argues that, because her oath as a clerk includes the phrase “so help me god”, she is bound by her religious beliefs as part of her job.
Davis is also requesting that Beshear be required to pay any fines that she gets as a result of the case against her.
Roger Gannam, Davis’ lawyer, argues that the governor should have allowed people with moral objections to refuse to provide marriage licenses.
Terry Sebastian, a representative for Governor Beshear, said of the suit: “it appears at first glance that she doesn’t understand the interrelationship between the governor, the attorney general, the county clerks and the legislature.”
“The lawyer who is representing the couples affected by Davis’ refusal was quite blunt on the matter. Joe Dunman said: “She swore in her oath of office to uphold the Constitution, and the Supreme Court has decided what the Constitution says here. She doesn’t get to ignore it just because she doesn’t like it.”