The Latest: ACLU concerned about validity of licenses

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Posted: Sep 14, 2015 10:27 PM
The Latest: ACLU concerned about validity of licenses

MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) — The latest on the defiant Kentucky clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, disobeying a federal judge and serving five days in jail for contempt (all times local):

10 p.m.

Attorneys representing the couples who sued clerk Kim Davis over her refusal to issue marriage licenses are concerned that the altered forms Davis' deputies issued could be invalid.

Davis, on her first day back at work after a five-day stint in jail, announced Monday that she would not block her deputies from issuing licenses. But she insisted they be edited to exclude her name and her title.

The forms, a template issued by the state, now read, "pursuant to federal court order" in the spaces meant to list Davis' position.

Kentucky's governor and attorney general both said they believe the altered marriage licenses are legal.

But lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union say they "have concerns about the validity," given the alterations and said they were reviewing their legal options.

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2:15 p.m.

Kentucky's governor says the altered marriage licenses issued in Rowan County from the office of an embattled clerk are considered valid.

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear said Monday that the licenses issued "are going to be recognized as valid in the Commonwealth."

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, also a Democrat, has refused to authorize licenses for same-sex couples because of her religious beliefs. She spent five days in jail for refusing to follow a federal judge's ruling ordering her to issue the licenses.

On Monday, her office altered the marriage licenses to remove her name. The licenses also say they're "pursuant to a court order." Deputy clerks, not Davis, are granting them.

Kentucky state law requires that "every license blank shall contain the identical words and figures." But Beshear noted that the federal judge overseeing Davis' case has not raised any objections to the licenses.

The Republican president of Kentucky's state Senate again called for a special session of the state legislature to change state law to exempt Davis and others who share her beliefs from jabbing to issue licenses. But Beshear again rejected that on Monday.

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2:15 p.m.

A lawyer for the Kentucky clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses says the paperwork now going out from her office could be a solution in the matter.

Lawyer Harry Mihet said Monday at a news conference: "The license that went out today does not violate Kim Davis's conscience. If it's satisfactory to the ... court, then I think we will have found that win-win solution that we have been asking for all along."

Rowan County clerk Davis was jailed for five days after a judge found her in contempt for refusing his order to issue licenses. Davis believes gay marriage is a sin. She stopped issuing licenses after the Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage nationwide.

She returned to work Monday. She said she wouldn't grant licenses herself but wouldn't interfere with her deputies as they issued them. That morning, deputy clerk Brian Mason gave a license to a lesbian couple with "pursuant to federal court order" typed on it. It doesn't have Davis' name on it.

Davis says the licenses are issued without her authority. She's questioned their validity. A spokeswoman for the state attorney general says he believes they're valid.

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1:45 p.m.

A spokeswoman for Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway says he has reviewed marriage licenses issued in Rowan County and believes they're valid, despite arguments from the clerk who says they were granted without her authority.

Spokeswoman Allison Gardner Martin said Monday that Conway hasn't been asked to issue a formal opinion on the validity of the licenses, but he believes that those issued while clerk Kim Davis was in jail and the one issued so far since her return to work are valid.

Davis was jailed for five days after a judge found her in contempt for refusing his order to issue marriage licenses. Davis believes gay marriage is a sin. She stopped issuing licenses after the Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage nationwide.

She returned to work Monday. In her absence, deputy clerks granted licenses. On Monday morning, deputy clerk Brian Mason gave a license to a lesbian couple. It has the words "pursuant to federal court order" typed on it.

Davis says she's not interfering as deputies issue licenses but also says she isn't authorizing them and questions whether they're valid.

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12:35 p.m.

Support and attention are growing for the deputy clerk who's issuing marriage licenses as his boss refuses to do so over her religious views on homosexuality.

Brian Mason issued a license to a lesbian couple Monday, the first one granted since Rowan County clerk Kim Davis returned to work after being jailed for defying a judge. Davis says she won't issue or authorize licenses, but she also won't interfere with her deputies granting them. She questions whether they're valid without her authorization.

As attention on Mason grew, a man delivered a gift bag to him with bourbon balls and a candle. A Facebook support group was created for him.

Hecklers shouted "coward" at him, but he smiled at them and turned back to his work. He declined to detail his position on gay marriage or on Davis' defiance. But he remained calm, scrolling on his computer and chewing gum despite the scene before him. Cameras crowded around his counter, with some reporters climbing step ladders to get a better shot of him at his desk.

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11:20 a.m.

A same-sex couple has received a marriage license in Rowan County, the first to be issued since clerk Kim Davis returned to work after being jailed for defying a federal judge.

The couple received their marriage license Monday over the objections of Davis. As the lesbian couple — Shannon Wampler and Carmen Collins — squeezed through the mass of reporters, Davis' supporters heckled.

Davis said earlier in the day that she would not issue or authorize the licenses, but she also wouldn't interfere with her deputy clerk handing them out. She questions whether they are valid without her authorization.

The couple lives in Lexington. Collins grew up in Morehead and says she wanted to get married in her hometown.

As Davis indicated in her statement, the couple's license has the words "pursuant to federal court order" typed on it. Deputy clerk Brian Mason issued and initialed the license. The couple stood at the counter for a half-hour to get it. It was delayed a bit by printer problems.

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10:55 a.m.

On the first day back at work for a Kentucky clerk who was jailed over her refusal to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, two lesbians are trying to get their paperwork.

The lesbian couple was escorted by supporters Monday morning. They squeezed through the mass of reporters toward the counter of deputy clerk Brian Mason. He has said he'll continue issuing marriage licenses in Rowan County despite the objections of his boss, Kim Davis. She believes gay marriage is a sin and says she won't interfere as her deputies issue licenses. But she says she's not authorizing them and questions whether they're valid.

As the couple stood at the counter in the crowded office, Davis' supporters heckled.

Elizabeth Johnson from Ohio screamed: "Come on clerks, don't sign that license. Don't let Kim's five days in jail be in vain."

Marriage equality supporters chanted, "Love has won."

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8:40 a.m.

The deputy county clerk who has said he'll keep issuing marriage licenses despite his boss' objections now sits behind a sign that reads "marriage license deputy."

Brian Mason remained calm, scrolling on his computer and chewing gum, despite the scene unfolding before him Monday morning. Dozens of television cameras crowded around his counter, some reporters in the back climbed step ladders to get a better shot of him sitting at his desk, waiting for a couple to arrive to get a marriage license.

Earlier in the morning, Mason's boss, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, announced that she's not going to interfere with her deputies issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but she says she isn't authorizing them and questions whether they're valid.

A federal judge had jailed Davis for five days for refusing to grant marriage licenses.

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8:10 a.m.

Despite his boss' objections to gay marriage, a deputy county clerk in eastern Kentucky says he'll continue issuing marriage licenses.

Deputy clerk Brian Mason had previously said that if he has to, he would disobey his boss, county clerk Kim Davis, and issue licenses rather than refuse the orders of U.S. District Judge David Bunning.

Monday was Davis' first day back to work after Judge Bunning jailed her for refusing to issue marriage licenses. Reading from a statement, Davis said she's not going to interfere with her deputies issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but she says she isn't authorizing them and questions whether they're valid.

Mason said that he spoke with Davis only briefly.

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7:55 a.m.

A Kentucky clerk says she is not going to interfere with her deputies issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but she says she is not authorizing them and questions whether they are valid.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis read from a hand-written statement Monday morning, her first day back in the office after a stint in jail for five days for defying a federal judge. She choked up as she was speaking, saying she was torn between obeying her God and following the judge's orders.

Davis, an Apostolic Christian, stopped issuing licenses after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, in defiance of a series of court orders.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning held her in contempt and ordered her to jail. In her absence, her deputies have issued at least seven licenses to gay couples.

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7:40 a.m.

Dozens of people are crowded outside the Rowan County courthouse, waiting for clerk Kim Davis to announce whether she intends to obey a court order and issue marriage licenses or continue to refuse them, risking the threat of returning to jail.

The plaza outside the courthouse has taken on a carnival air: loud speakers are blasting Christian music, television cameras and lights are set up in white-topped tents and Davis' supporters are waving signs and praying.

Police have a heavy presence stationed outside the courthouse.

About 100 reporters formed a tight semi-circle around the courthouse door, waiting for Davis to emerge. Her office opens at 8 a.m.

It's unclear if any in the crowd are couples here to get marriage licenses. Deputies in Davis' office have issued at least seven licenses to gay couples since the clerk was jailed for contempt.