“Davis remains free to practice her Apostolic Christian beliefs,” Bunning wrote. “She may continue to attend church twice a week, participate in Bible Study and minister to female inmates at the Rowan County Jail. She is even free to believe that marriage is a union between one man and one woman, as many Americans do. However, her religious convictions cannot excuse her from performing the duties that she took an oath to perform as Rowan County Clerk.”
Davis’ attorneys appealed the decision and asked the judge for a stay. The plaintiff’s attorneys urged the judge to reject the request.
Laura Landenwich, an attorney for the couples, said they are considering asking the judge to hold Davis in contempt, which could carry a hefty fine or the threat of jail time.
Davis, elected last November as a Democrat, took over the office from her mother, Jean Bailey, who served as county clerk for 37 years, according to the Morehead News. Davis worked under her mother as a deputy clerk for 26 years. Nathan Davis refused to say if he is related to Kim Davis.
The battle has exposed the deep rift that remains in this county of 23,000 people, considered to be among the most progressive in eastern Kentucky.
James Yates and William Smith Jr., a couple for nearly a decade, said there was a disconnect between the clerk’s actions and their experience in Morehead. They held hands as they walked into the clerk’s office, and gay rights activists, who have lined the street with rainbow signs and flags every day for more than a month, shouted “Good luck!”
Still, some of the couples struggled to reconcile their support in the community and the rejection at the county clerk’s office.
David Ermold broke down and cried in the county’s judge-executive’s office after he was denied a license to marry David Moore, his partner of 17 years.
“I will say that people are cruel, they are cruel, these people are cruel,” Ermold said. “This is how gay people are treated in this country. This is what it’s like. This is how it feels.”
The county judge executive’s secretary, Lois L. Hawkins, started to cry with him. She declined to comment, except to say it broke her heart and there was nothing she could do to help them.
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