With Rowan County clerk Kim Davis in jail on civil contempt charges for refusing to issue marriage licenses because of her Christian faith, gay couples wasted no time on Friday heading to the courthouse to secure the necessary paperwork—the first time they’ve been able to do so since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex “marriage.”
But lawyers for Davis are continuing to put up a fight, even with Davis behind bars. Hours after deputy clerk Brian Mason issued the licenses to the gay couples, her attorneys argued that they are meaningless without her authorization.
"They are not being issued under the authority of the Rowan County clerk's office,” said attorney Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, the Christian legal organization representing Davis. “They are not worth the paper that they are written on.”
Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins dismissed that claim, however, saying that deputy clerks can issue valid licenses even without Davis’ approval, a position backed up by U.S. District Judge David Bunning, who jailed Davis for contempt on Thursday. Bunning ordered five of the six deputy clerks in the office to begin issuing marriage licenses, with the exception of deputy clerk Nathan Davis, Kim Davis’ son.
As for how long Davis must remain jailed, while her attorneys are fighting to get her released, her husband, Joe, said “she will stay in there for however long it takes … she will not back down. She’ll never resign.”
And she seems to be doing fine, too, telling her attorneys, “all is well.”
“Kim Davis slept well last night,” Staver told reporters on Friday. “She slept with a very good conscience and she is in very good spirits.”
In an earlier statement, Staver said she joined “a long list of people who were imprisoned for their conscience … Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jan Huss, John Bunyan, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and more.”
“Each had their own cause,” the statement continued, “but they all share the same resolve not to violate their conscience. We can only hope future generations look back on this moment with disgust at what happened and admiration for a woman who may be incarcerated but whose conscience remains free.”