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Kim Davis drops legal action after Governor strips all Kentucky clerks of marriage duties

Nick Duffy June 21, 2016
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Embattled Kentucky clerk Kim Davis has concluded her legal action – after the state’s marriage law was changed by the new Republican Governor.

Ms Davis, who has been married four times, was briefly jailed for contempt of court last year after she defied direct orders from a court in order to block gay people from getting married.

Represented by extreme anti-LGBT law firm Liberty Counsel, Davis had pursued an appeal calling for “religious liberty accommodation” allowing her to opt-out of gay weddings.

Under a compromise law signed by the state’s Republican Governor Mat Bevan in April, clerks will no longer play any direct legal role in signing marriage licenses in Kentucky – a resolution which appears to have satisfied Ms Davis.

The state’s marriage laws previously dictated: “Each county clerk shall use the form for the issuance of a marriage license.”

It now reads: “Each county clerk shall make available to the public the form for the issuance of a marriage license.”

All reference to clerks “authorising” marriages has been removed from state law, and marriage licenses no longer specify they need “the signature of the county clerk or deputy clerk issuing the license”.

Just weeks before her case was set to be hear by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, Davis welcomed the news concluded her legal action today.

Her lawyer Mat Staver said: “Today, Kim Davis, the Rowan County clerk jailed for her faith regarding marriage, notified the Federal Court of Appeals that the new Kentucky law resolves her request for religious liberty accommodation.

“The passage of the Kentucky law provides the exact relief Kim Davis requested from the beginning.”

Now that Kim Davis obtained the accommodation she has always requested, we notified the Court of Appeals that the case has become moot and no further legal proceedings are needed. We are very pleased with this outcome.”

The filing states: “[The new law] amends key provisions of the Kentucky marriage licensing scheme at issue here.

“Specifically, SB 216 expressly modifies the Kentucky marriage licensing scheme to remove entirely a County Clerk’s name, personal identifiers, and authorization from any license, thereby providing through a change in the law the very religious accommodation Davis sought from the beginning of this litigation.”

Leaving aside the spurious claim that Davis was only trying to obtain a minor tweak to marriage licenses all along, both sides welcomed a resolution to the case.

Ms Davis said: “I am thankful to the legislators for passing this law, to Gov. Matt Bevin for signing it, to Liberty Counsel for representing me, and most of all to Jesus Christ who redeemed me and is my solid rock on which I stand.

“I am pleased that I can continue to serve my community as the Rowan County Clerk without having to sacrifice my religious convictions and conscience.”

More: action, clerk, court, Kentucky, kim davis, Law, Legal, US

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