The Latest: GOP Senate president asks for time to change law

AP News
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Posted: Sep 02, 2015 6:28 PM

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The latest on a county clerk in Kentucky who has repeatedly refused to issue marriage licenses (all times local):

6:12 p.m.

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.

5:40 p.m.

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."

4:54 p.m.

A Kentucky county clerk says she is unable to obey a federal judge's order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because it would irreparably violate her conscience.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has refused to issue marriage licenses following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Two gay couples and two straight couples sued her, and U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered her to issue the licenses.

But Davis has refused to obey that order even though it was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. She will appear in court Thursday as Bunning decides whether to punish Davis by imposing fines.

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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2:55 p.m.

A Kentucky county clerk is again asking a judge to delay his ruling ordering her to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning's order has been upheld by a federal appeals court and the U.S. Supreme Court. But Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis continues to disobey it, saying she cannot do something that violates her religious beliefs.

Bunning has scheduled a hearing for Thursday. He could hold Davis in contempt of court, which could lead to fines or jail time.

But on Wednesday, Davis again asked Bunning to delay his order so she can appeal an earlier decision on a related issue. Davis had asked Bunning last month for an injunction against Gov. Steve Beshear for ordering her to issue the marriage licenses. Bunning refused to hear that motion. By doing that, Davis' attorneys argue that Bunning effectively denied their motion, which they have the right to appeal.

Davis' attorneys asked Bunning to delay his order while they appeal to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.