The Republican president of the Kentucky state Senate has asked a federal judge to withhold his ruling ordering a county clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples against her religious beliefs.
Republican Senate President Robert Stivers said in a court filing on Wednesday that U.S. District Judge David Bunning needs to give the state legislature time to pass a law that would exempt Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis from issuing marriage licenses.
Stivers noted the state legislature is not in session and won’t be until January. Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear has declined to call a special session. Stivers said the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide has completely obliterated the definition of marriage and said the state legislature will need to change several laws in order to comply with the order.
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A U.S. Attorney in Kentucky issued a statement Wednesday that said he has “grave concerns” about a county clerk who had defied court orders and refused to issue marriage licenses.
For two months since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage across the nation, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has cited her Christian faith and “God’s authority” in defense of refusing to issue licenses, even in the face of a contempt of court hearing scheduled for Thursday morning.
“Government officials are free to disagree with the law, but not disobey it,” U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey wrote in a statement on the eve of the hearing. “The County Clerk has presented her position through the federal court system, all of the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. It is time for the Clerk and the County to follow the law.”
On Wednesday, Davis’ lawyers argued in a court document that Davis should not be punished because she is unable to comply with the order and because she still has an appeal pending before a federal appeals court on a related issue.
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