Kentucky clerk Davis rejects marriage licenses as invalid: ABC

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 22, 2015 8:55 AM

(Reuters) - The county clerk from Kentucky who went to jail rather than issue marriage licenses to gay couples said the licenses being granted by her staff are invalid, according to an interview that aired on Tuesday.

"I can't put my name on a license that doesn't represent what God ordained what marriage to be," Davis said in a television interview with ABC News, taped on Monday.

"They're not valid in God's eyes, for one," she said of licenses her staff has begun issuing. "I have given no authority to write a marriage license. They did not have my permission, they did not have my authorization."

Davis, 50, has said her Christian beliefs prevent her from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She was released on the condition that she not interfere with the issuance of marriage licenses.

Davis added that she was prepared to return to jail over the controversy, according to ABC.

She returned to work on Sept. 14 after a five-day stint in jail for refusing to issue any marriage licenses following a Supreme Court ruling in June that made gay marriage legal across the United States.

On Monday, lawyers for couples suing Davis said that she made material changes to the forms since returning to work and is not in compliance with a federal court order.

Issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Kentucky and other U.S. states has become the latest flash point in the nation's long-running debate over gay marriage.

In the wide-ranging interview from Morehead, Kentucky, Davis said she should keep her post, saying: "I'm good at my job."

"My constituents elected me, but the main authority that rules my life is the Lord," Davis told ABC, speaking alongside one of her lawyers.

She defended her actions and rejected criticism that she is a hypocrite and a homophobe for her actions and for citing her religious beliefs to deny marriages even as she has been married four times and had some children out of wedlock.

"I'm forgiven. Washed clean," she said.

Mat Staver, an attorney for Davis, has said she has made a good faith effort to comply with U.S. District Judge David Bunning's order.

Attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, in a federal court filing on Monday, said Bunning should order the licenses to be issued under the previous format and reissue those given under the altered one.

Despite Davis' comments, their legality of the marriage licenses issued without her consent has not been challenged in court.

(Reporting and writing by Susan Heavey in Washington; Additional reporting by Steve Bittenbender in Louisville, Kentucky; Editing by Eric Walsh)