The Kentucky clerk who says she’s following “God’s word” in her refusal to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples is a longtime civil servant with her own history of marital struggles.
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was divorced three times and had children out of wedlock before experiencing a religious awakening that cemented her obedience to Christian scripture — and her defiance of the country’s highest court.
Her act of resistance has rocked her small Appalachia community 60 miles east of Lexington and made headlines nationwide, fed by a video of her denying a marriage license to David V. Moore and his partner of 17 years, David Ermold. The Tuesday confrontation sparked a protest inside the Rowan County Courthouse, with supporters of the couple and of Davis shouting over each other. A similar scene unfolded Wednesday, when a second same-sex couple asked for a marriage license.
Davis, who worked as deputy clerk for 27 years before she was elected clerk in November, said in a written statement through her lawyers that she was committed to her job, but that issuing the license would violate “God’s definition of marriage” and imperil her religious freedom.
“I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will,” said Davis, 49. “To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God’s Word.”
She refuses to resign.
A federal judge has summoned Davis and her deputies to a hearing on Thursday. Same-sex couples who have sued Davis for marriage licenses have asked that she be held in contempt and fined, but not thrown in jail.
The American Civil Liberties Union accused Davis of placing herself above the law, while supporters, including religious leaders, have urged her to stand firm.
One of her lawyers told NBC News that she is exploring other options — including issuing licenses without her name attached to them. On Wednesday, she asked a federal judge to free her of the obligation of issuing licenses.
Being a clerk runs in Davis’ blood. While deputy clerk, she worked for her mother, and her son Nathan now works for her. Nathan Davis turned away a gay couple himself earlier in August, The Associated Press reported.
Davis, an Apostolic Christian, says her commitment to her faith came after she found “a message of grace” four years ago when she went to church following the death of her mother-in-law.
“I am not perfect. …Read More