MOREHEAD, Ky. — A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling ordering a Kentucky county clerk to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis objects to same-sex marriage for religious reasons. She stopped issuing marriage licenses the day after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned state bans on same-sex marriage.
Two gay couples and two straight couples sued her. A U.S. district judge ordered Davis to issue the marriage licenses, but later delayed his order so that Davis could have time to appeal to the 6th circuit. Wednesday, the appeals court denied Davis’ request for a stay.
“It cannot be defensibly argued that the holder of the Rowan County Clerk’s office, apart from who personally occupies that office, may decline to act in conformity with the United States Constitution as interpreted by a dispositive holding of the United States Supreme Court,” judges Damon J. Keith, John M. Rogers and Bernice B. Donald wrote for the court. “There is thus little or no likelihood that the Clerk in her official capacity will prevail on appeal.”
April Miller and Karen Roberts were one of the gay couples who sued Davis. Miller read the ruling on her phone in the living room of the house they share down a country road on the outskirts of Morehead. Roberts, her partner for more than a decade, peered over her shoulder, smiling, humming, tears welling up under her glasses.