FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Three Kentucky county clerks who are refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples drew thunderous cheers from a crowd gathered at the state capitol on Saturday.
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis spoke briefly at the rally organized by The Family Foundation of Kentucky, appearing emotional as she thanked supporters.
“I need your prayers … to continue to stand firm in what we believe,” she said to cheers.
Davis has been sued by The American Civil Liberties Union for denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She says her Christian faith prohibits her from signing the licenses. A federal judge has ruled Davis must issue the licenses, but her attorneys are appealing the decision.
A crowd of a few thousand, many of them churchgoers from around the state, filled the lawn in the rear of the capitol building, many carrying signs saying “Freedom of religion” and waving American flags.
The three clerks, Davis, Kay Schwartz of Whitley County and Casey Davis from Casey County, halted all marriage licenses from their offices after the Supreme Court ruling in June that legalized same-sex marriage.
“They cannot violate their consciences by signing their name to authorize something that they believe is unholy,” said Kent Ostrander, the Family Foundation’s executive director. Ostrander said it’s the duty of the state government to come up with a compromise that would not compel the clerks to sign the documents. He said one suggestion is issuing the licenses online.
Davis indicated he was not ready to begin issuing marriage licenses, saying he was “not ready to quit.” He was critical of the Supreme Court decision, saying marriage should be between a man and a woman.
“Regardless of what any man puts on a piece of paper, the law of nature is not going to change,” Davis said.