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Thread: Kentucky County Clerk Ordered to Jail for Refusing to Issue Marriage Licenses

  1. #1

    Default Kentucky County Clerk Ordered to Jail for Refusing to Issue Marriage Licenses

    So she has been refusing to issue ANY marriage licenses since June, her defense being that issuing a marriage license with her name on it as county clerk is an endorsement of the marriage. Courts have disagreed with her, citing that she took an oath that she is supposed to uphold as elected county clerk. It's not that she's refusing to do this herself, it's that she is refusing to let ANYONE in her office issue a marriage license.

    Her legal options have been exhausted since the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of the court order to issue marriage licenses. She has now been ordered to jail until she decides to comply, as she is currently in contempt of court.

    My personal thought is that she is fully within her right to her beliefs, but if those beliefs make it such that she cannot uphold the oath she has taken, she needs to step down. Instead of stepping down (or even stepping aside), she has flat out refused to follow court orders. What I find interesting is that her attorneys have insisted that any court ruling in favor of gay marriage is inherently illegitimate because it violates religious precepts.

    Other thoughts?

  2. #2


    She was an elected official with a responsibility to serve the citizens of her county in accordance with the laws of the county, the state, and the nation. She refused this responsibility on the basis of 'religion, but also refused to step down from her $80 000/year tax payer funded position to be replaced by someone who would follow the law and who would serve the citizenry. She was found in contempt of court by Catholic Republican Judge David L. Bunning, son of a former Republican senator and congressmen, who was granted his position by President George W. Bush. But don't worry, someone will blame the Democratic Atheists for this.

    I would also like to add an important message to this post:

    A nation where Christmas decorations go on sale before Labor Day, can not possibly be a nation where Christians are oppressed.

  3. #3


    It is ignorance like that woman in Kentucky that makes me sick. I believe everyone has the right to marry. No exceptions. Good for the judge!

  4. #4


    Unbelievable! Imagine if a vegetarian got a job in a butchers, and refused to serve anyone because they don't agree with eating meat!

    Believe what you want, but you can't illegally impose your beliefs on others.

  5. #5


    I think it is a rediculous argument that her signature on the marriage license is an endorsement of the people getting married. Was she doing background checks to make sure she wasn't endorsing a pedophile from getting married? No. Her job was to make sure that the two people whose names are on the marriage license have complied with the county and state requirements required in order to receive the marriage license. Nothing more. The signature of the secretary of the treasury on the front of the dollar bill in my pocket doesn't mean the secretary agrees with the way I spend my money. The signature of the commissioner for public safety on my driver license does not indicate he agrees with all the driving choices made by the people in my state, including those who drink and drive. To think otherwise would be absurd.

    Do your job or step down.

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by tiny View Post
    Unbelievable! Imagine if a vegetarian got a job in a butchers, and refused to serve anyone because they don't agree with eating meat!

    Believe what you want, but you can't illegally impose your beliefs on others.

  7. #7


    It's great, best choice ever because it puts the time in jail in her hands.

    Regardless of religious beliefs you have to uphold the requirements of your job, even more-so when you are in the public service.

    She has every right to not issue marriage licenses by resigning; if she can't officiate her job then she is allowed to leave.

  8. #8


    She could have just quietly asked her deputies who were willing to issue marriage licenses to gays/lesbians to do it instead of her, and we wouldn't be having this discussion.

    And it probably technically would have been a good compromise between her beliefs and her duties.
    Last edited by sciencedude; 03-Sep-2015 at 20:15. Reason: Finish my thought

  9. #9



    She brought a challenge in the courts, appealed it as far as it would go, and lost. Her side can complain that they don't like complying, but this is the point at which due process has played out and respect for the rule of law says you have to hold your nose and comply.

  10. #10


    Apparently the Rowan County Attorney advised the clerk that he would not and could not support her in her defiance of the law, and he made it clear to her that he would not represent her as the law is clear. The County Attorney has said he has no stance on same-sex marriage, but established federal law must be followed. The Attorney indicated that she does not represent the County or is representative of its values.

    According to an interview the Attorney gave, everyone in the courthouse where the County Clerk works has endured harassment while coming in to work, not just those working in the clerk's office. Deputy clerks have said they would issue lawful marriage licenses but are afraid to do so. If the deputy clerks are instructed to issue the licenses by the judge, they will.

    So one person, in her zealous religious mission, has put those who work for her and in the same building as her in a bad position.

    It will be interesting to see if she tries to fire deputy clerks for issuing lawful marriage licenses under judicial orders while she is incarcerated. Imagine the lawsuits against the county for that!


    Apparently in Tennessee, a County clerk and a couple employees resigned when it came about that they would have to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. I can respect them for doing so, that's called being professional.

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