By Steve Bittenbender
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Reuters) - A Kentucky county clerk’s office defied a federal judge’s order by continuing to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Thursday, saying the legal case was still pending.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reported the Rowan County clerk's office had turned away David Moore and David Ermold, a gay couple seeking a marriage license, the newspaper said. Moore and Ermold could not immediately be reached to comment.
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis is currently on vacation but Nathan Davis, a relative who also works at the clerk’s office, said Thursday morning the office was not currently taking licenses because of the active litigation. He declined further comment.
Kim Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses following the late June ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that legalized gay marriage. She previously said her religious beliefs as an Apostolic Christian prevented her from issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
Lawyers for Davis, who filed an appeal shortly after U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning issued a preliminary injunction on Wednesday ordering her office to process license applications from all couples, filed a motion with Bunning’s office to stay the injunction until an appellate court could render its decision.
“We’re taking it up to a higher court to do an expedited appeal,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, which is representing Davis’ office. “And we got the motion to stay pending. So, we’re going to wait and see what happens on that motion to stay.”
Staver said it was premature to discuss what would happen if the stay was denied.
Shortly after the Supreme Court ruling, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear issued an order to the state's 120 county clerks to begin processing same-sex marriage licenses. A few decided to disregard it because of what they said was their Christian belief that marriage can be only between a man and a woman.
(Reporting by Steve Bittenbender; Editing by Ben Klayman and Bill Trott)