News (USA)

US clerk in gay marriage fight: ‘A heaven or hell decision’

On Tuesday morning, April Miller and Karen Roberts, tailed by television cameras and rival activists, were there Davis opened her office doors. They hoped Davis would accept that her fight was lost and issue the licenses.

Instead, Davis turned them away. On their way out, Miller and Roberts passed David Ermold and David Moore, 17 years a couple. “Denied again,” Roberts whispered in Moore’s ear.

Ermold said he almost wept. They demanded to talk to Davis, who emerged briefly on the other side of the counter.

“We’re not leaving until we have a license,” Ermold told her.

“Then you’re going to have a long day,” Davis replied. She retreated into her office, closed the door and shut the blinds as a tense standoff erupted in the office around her. Dozens from both sides of the issue packed into the lobby.

“Do your job,” marriage equality activists chanted.

“Stand firm,” Davis’ supporters shouted back. They compared her to the Biblical figures Paul and Silas, imprisoned for their faith and rescued by God.

But lawyers for the rejected couples, in asking the judge to hold her in contempt of court, requested that she not be sent to jail, and instead be issued a fine “sufficiently serious and increasingly onerous” to “compel her immediate compliance without delay.”

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