The Latest: Lawyer hopes clerk complies in marriage case

AP News
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Posted: Sep 08, 2015 5:33 PM
The Latest: Lawyer hopes clerk complies in marriage case

GRAYSON, Ky. (AP) — The latest in the case of a Kentucky county clerk who was jailed over her refusal to issue marriage licenses to gay couples (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

An attorney representing the couples who sued a Kentucky clerk over her refusal to issue marriage licenses says he will ask a judge to again hold the official in contempt if she blocks her deputies from granting licenses.

Lawyer Dan Canon said Tuesday that the couples hope Rowan County clerk Kim Davis complies and doesn't again order her staff to stop issuing licenses because of her religious beliefs about homosexuality.

"But if experience is a teacher, Ms. Davis just doesn't believe that court orders apply to her," Canon said.

Davis was released from jail after being held in contempt for several days over her refusal to follow a judge's order and issue the licenses to same-sex couples.

Davis' lawyers wouldn't say Tuesday whether she intends to issue licenses.

Three of the four couples named in the lawsuit that led to Davis' contempt charge have already been issued licenses. But Canon said the judge's order applies to all couples. If Davis opts to turn anyone away, the judge could decide on his own to return her to jail.

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4:55 p.m.

After being released from jail and speaking to supporters, the Kentucky clerk who won't issue marriage licenses because of her religious beliefs on homosexuality rushed to perhaps the only person who can understand what she's been through: her mom.

Before Kim Davis was elected Rowan County's clerk of court last year, her mother, Jean Bailey, served for 37 years. Davis worked for her for 27 years and has since hired her own son in the office.

After her release Tuesday afternoon, Davis spoke briefly at a rally. Then Bailey and her husband, Ray, hugged Davis for several minutes. Davis kissed her mother on the cheek before heading back inside the jail.

Bailey says that if she had been faced with the same decision on licenses, she probably would have retired. But Bailey says her daughter's too young to retire, and she supports her decision.

Ray Bailey says the family plans to "quietly" celebrate Davis' release Tuesday night.

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4:05 p.m.

In the wake of a defiant clerk's release from jail, Gov. Steve Beshear is reiterating that he won't call a special session for the Kentucky General Assembly to overhaul the state's process for licensing marriages.

Beshear's remarks came shortly after Rowan County clerk Kim Davis walked out of jail Tuesday. She spent several days behind bars over her refusal to issue marriage licenses. She cited her religious belief that gay marriage is a sin.

Her supporters have condemned Beshear's refusal. A handful of clerks sent letters this summer demanding he let the legislature remove clerks from the licensing process. Beshear called it a waste of taxpayer money. All but a handful of clerks have complied since the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized same-sex marriages nationwide.

Davis said in court last week that she hopes the legislature can come up with a solution. But on Tuesday, Beshear said it's time to move on.

He said: "We need to be thinking about so many things about the future of Kentucky."

Beshear and Davis are Democrats.

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3:50 p.m.

The Kentucky clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses because of her religious beliefs about gay couples has appeared briefly on stage at a rally of her supporters, telling the crowd she wants to "give God the glory."

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis told the thousands gathered outside the jail Tuesday, shortly after her release on contempt of court charges: "Thank you all so much. I love you all so very much."

She also said: "I just want to give God the glory; his people have rallied, and you are a strong people."

She added: "Keep on pressing."

GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee also spoke at the rally and introduced Davis. She came out as the song "Eye of the Tiger" played, raising her arms to the sky. She cried and spoke only briefly. Her husband also was there. The crowd chanted "USA, USA!"

Davis' lawyer has refused to say when she'll return to work or whether she will obey a judge's order not to interfere with marriage licensing in her office.

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3:10 p.m.

The Kentucky clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses because of her religious beliefs about gay couples says that "all has been well" upon her release from jail on contempt charges.

Those were the only comments Rowan County clerk Kim Davis made Tuesday afternoon outside the jail. She smiled and appeared to be crying as she stood next to lawyer Mat Staver and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Huckabee and fellow candidate Ted Cruz had planned jailhouse visits before Davis was ordered released.

Staver says Davis is loyal to God and her job. But he says she won't violate her conscience and argues that the licenses issued by her office in her absence are invalid. He says she cannot allow her name to be associated with something that conflicts with God's definition of marriage.

Near the end of the news conference outside the jail, Davis was asked: "Was it worth it?" She smiled and nodded yes.

The crowd grew to the thousands. Christian flags and a few Confederate ones waved.

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This item has been corrected to show that Kim Davis' quote was "all has been well," not "all is well."

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2:50 p.m.

The lawyer for a county clerk in Kentucky who has been released from jail after she defied court orders says the marriage licenses issued in her absence are invalid.

Mat Staver, with the Christian firm Liberty Counsel, spoke outside the jail Tuesday as Rowan County clerk Kim Davis was released.

Staver said: "Kim cannot and will not violate her conscience." He would not say whether Davis intends to comply with a court order issued Tuesday that she not interfere with the deputy clerks issuing licenses out of her office.

Staver said: "You'll find out in the near future." He didn't elaborate.

Allison Martin, a spokeswoman for Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, confirmed Tuesday that the office evaluated the licenses issued in Davis' absence and believes they are valid.

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2:40 p.m.

The Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses because of her religious beliefs has been released from jail, where she's was held since Thursday on a contempt of court charge.

She emerged Tuesday afternoon to hundreds of supporters outside the jail. They sang "Amazing Grace" and "God Bless America" as her lawyer spoke to the crowd and news outlets gathered outside.

The federal judge who ordered Rowan County clerk Kim Davis jailed five days earlier granted her release Tuesday and warned her not to interfere as deputy clerks in her office issue the licenses.

Lawyer Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel refused to say whether Davis would obey that order. He says, "Kim Davis cannot and will not violate her conscience." She appeared to be crying and said little. She was asked: "Was it worth it?" She smiled and nodded.

Staver also didn't answer questions about when Davis would return to work.

Davis refused to issue marriage licenses after the Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage nationwide. Davis repeatedly defied court orders to grant the licenses. She cited "God' authority" and her deeply held religious beliefs that gay marriage is a sin.

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2:30 p.m.

The crowd outside a jail where a Kentucky clerk has been ordered released after her refusal to issue marriage licenses is swelling, reaching several hundred as supporters sing "Amazing Grace" and "God Bless America."

The federal judge who ordered Rowan County clerk Kim Davis jailed five days earlier granted her release Tuesday and warned her not to interfere as deputy clerks in her office issue the licenses.

Before the release order, GOP presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz each had planned jailhouse visits with Davis on Tuesday afternoon. After the order, each went into the jailhouse's front door, as did Davis' husband.

Davis refused to issue marriage licenses after the Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage nationwide. Davis repeatedly defied court orders to grant the licenses. She cited "God' authority" and her deeply held religious beliefs that gay marriage is a sin.

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2:15 p.m.

An attorney representing the couples whose lawsuit against a Kentucky clerk led to her imprisonment says she hopes the official complies with the court's order not to interfere with the granting of marriage licenses.

Attorney Laura Landenwich said Tuesday shortly after Rowan County clerk Kim Davis was ordered released that her clients just want their licenses. Landenwich says: "We're ready to resolve this case. I don't think it's good for the commonwealth to continue this discussion."

But Landenwich says the couples wonder whether Rowan County Clerk Davis will actually follow the order upon her release after five days in jail. On Thursday, she opted to stay in jail shortly after she was sent there, rather than promise not to interfere with her deputies as they issued licenses.

Landenwich says: "I would hope that she would recognize her legal obligations at this point and do what's right."

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2:10 p.m.

The Kentucky county clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses because of her religious beliefs will be released from jail, where she's been held since Thursday on a contempt of court charge.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning lifted the contempt order Tuesday and ordered Rowan County clerk Kim Davis released.

Bunning's ruling says he's satisfied that Davis' office is complying with orders to grant marriage licenses. He ordered Davis not to interfere with that business. Deputy clerks have been issuing the licenses. Five of the six deputies told Bunning they would do so, although some were reluctant and cited religious beliefs. Bunning's ruling requests updates on the five deputy clerks' compliance from their lawyers every 14 days.

Bunning sent Davis to jail on Thursday. Before the release order, GOP presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz each had planned jailhouse visits with her Tuesday afternoon.

Outside the jail, word spread the crowd. Some said they couldn't believe it. Supporters chanted "Let Kim go!" and handed out white crosses. Police officers and others gathered at the front door. Davis' husband, Joe Davis, went inside. Huckabee and then Cruz followed shortly after.

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1:50 p.m.

A second county clerk in Kentucky who has refused to issue marriage licenses because of religious beliefs says he's relieved that Kim Davis has been ordered released from jail.

Casey County clerk Casey Davis says he thinks a judge did the right thing Tuesday by ordering her release.

Davis, who is not related to Rowan County clerk, says: "It's been a total injustice."

Casey Davis is still not issuing marriage licenses. He says the conflict could come to his county next. He says only one same-sex couple has inquired about a license. They called the office and were told no licenses were being issued, and Davis says that's the last he heard from them.

He says that gay marriage is a sin and that he's willing to go to jail, as Kim Davis did. But he like many other clerks, Casey Davis hopes for a legislative solution; however, the state legislature isn't scheduled to meet until January. The governor has refused to call a costly special session.

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1 p.m.

A Republican congressman from Kentucky says a federal judge's decision to jail a Kentucky clerk was premature because the state legislature hasn't had time to update its marriage laws since the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage.

Republican U.S. Rep Thomas Massie said Tuesday outside the jail where Rowan County clerk Kim Davis is being held that state law is in flux.

He pointed out that Kentucky's law still requires the woman in a relationship to apply for a marriage license. It makes no mention of same-sex relationships. He says the legislature needs to update that and several other laws, including ones that require marriage licenses to be issued under the county clerk's authority.

Massie says: "I'm here because five Supreme Court justices stole my job. They legislated. They wrote law."

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12:30 p.m.

Dozens of people are crowding the lawn outside the detention center where two GOP presidential candidates will meet with a Kentucky clerk jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Candidate Mike Huckabee will host a rally Tuesday in front of the jail after he meets with Rowan County clerk Kim Davis. He says Davis is simply exercising her religious freedom. Their visit is scheduled for about 2 p.m. Fellow candidate Ted Cruz says he'll meet with Davis about 1 p.m., after he holds a news conference.

Fifty-seven-year-old Tom Baker drove more than two hours from his home for the rally. He says: "She hasn't committed any crime. I don't see how anybody can force anybody to go against their religion."

Local officials scrambled to manage the crowd. A fire truck blocked access to the jail. Businesses along Main Street put up yellow caution tape. Some wanted to prevent visitors from clogging their lots. Others charged as much as $20 for parking. At red lights, men handed out literature urging people to write letters to Davis and to the judge who put her in jail.

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12:25 p.m.

Three of the four couples whose lawsuit led to the jailing of a Kentucky clerk on a contempt charge have received marriage licenses.

Attorneys for the couples filed a report Tuesday. It notes that two same-sex couples and one straight couple have received licenses since Rowan County clerk Kim Davis was ordered to jail.

Davis refused to issue marriage licenses after the Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage nationwide. Four couples, two gay and two straight, sued her. Davis defied court orders, and U.S. District Judge David Bunning sent her to jail Thursday.

Bunning also asked the couples' attorneys to submit a report detailing the status of their attempt to receive licenses. Five of Davis' six deputy clerks agreed to issue the licenses. In the document filed Tuesday, attorneys attached the licenses the three couples received. The forms were altered to exclude Kim Davis' name and were initialed by a deputy clerk.

It's unclear whether the report will factor into the judge's decision over Davis' continued imprisonment.

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4:40 a.m.

Presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will join protesters at a Tuesday rally outside the jail where a Kentucky clerk is locked in a cell over her refusal to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

The rally is scheduled to begin in the afternoon after Huckabee's planned private visit with Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis.

Davis was jailed by a federal judge last week after defying several court orders.

Her lawyers spent Labor Day weekend filing appeals in an effort to force her release, but she remains there on a contempt charge.

Huckabee, a former Baptist minister who often reaches out to religious conservatives, says Davis is simply exercising her religious freedom by denying the marriage licenses.