MOREHEAD, Ky. — Rowan Clerk Kim Davis returned to work Monday for the first time since being jailed for disobeying a federal judge and said she was faced with a “seemingly impossible choice” between following her conscience and losing her freedom over denying marriage licenses to gay couples.
With her voice shaking, she said she decided not to interfere with deputy clerks who will continue to hand out the marriage licenses in Rowan County, but Davis declared they would not be authorized by her and she questioned their validity.
In her first day back after a five-day stint in jail, Davis said she was torn between obeying God and a directive from the judge that “forces me to disobey God.” Davis, an Apostolic Christian, believes gay marriage is a sin.
“I’m here before you this morning with a seemingly impossible choice that I do not wish upon any of my fellow Americans: my conscience or my freedom,” Davis said, reading from a hand-written statement outside the courthouse where she works.
Davis became a hero to many conservative Christians when she stopped issuing the licenses after the Supreme Court effectively legalized same-sex marriage. Her profile reached a fever pitch when she was jailed, as protesters, presidential candidates and news crews from across the county descended on the small town of Morehead.
On Monday, the plaza outside the courthouse took on a carnival air: loud speakers blasted Christian music, television cameras and lights were set up in white-topped tents and Davis’ supporters waved signs and prayed.
The issue has drawn some of the most fervent Christian activists from across the country. Their trucks are parked up and down the street, bearing signs that read “sodomy ruins nations” and “repent.”
One truck, with a North Carolina license plate, has a poster-sized photo of an aborted fetus on the side. Others, from Iowa and Colorado, feature photos of two men kissing with doomsday warnings about the sin of homosexuality.
Police had a heavy presence outside the courthouse as about 100 reporters formed a tight semi-circle around the courthouse door and waited for Davis. She emerged just minutes before her office officially opened and gave her statement, saying the licenses would now say they were issued “pursuant to federal court order.”