Tuesday, December 12, 2017
News Roundup

The Latest: Pair travels to Kentucky to wed, make statement

MOREHEAD, Ky. — The latest on a Kentucky county clerk who was released from jail Tuesday after she continued to defy court orders and refused to issue marriage licenses because of her religious beliefs on homosexuality (all times local):

11 a.m.

A San Francisco couple say they traveled to the Kentucky county of an embattled clerk of court to get married and make a statement for gay rights.

Mark Shrayber and Allen Corona are the first couple to complete their paperwork to be married in Rowan County, Kentucky, since the clerk's office began processing licenses again.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage nationwide, clerk Kim Davis has refused to give licenses to gay couples, citing religious beliefs about homosexuality. She was held in jail for five days on contempt charges and released Tuesday. In her absence, deputy clerks issued licenses.

The couple received their license Tuesday. They were married later that day in a small ceremony at Morehead State University and returned to the office Wednesday to file the license with county officials, per legal protocol in Kentucky.

The couple praised the response of residents, some of whom ran up to hug them. Shrayber says it seemed many were embarrassed by the situation.

Shrayber says he's disgusted Davis is becoming "a martyr for the cause." He says: "We are in 2015. We are not burning witches anymore."

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10:45 a.m.

Kentucky's attorney general says that for now, he will not appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the claim that Rowan County clerk Kim Davis committed a crime when she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

One couple who was denied a license asked Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins to investigate a charge of official misconduct, a misdemeanor in Kentucky applicable to public officials who neglect their duties. Watkins, citing a conflict of interest, passed the complaint along to the attorney general, who could then choose whether to appoint a special prosecutor.

But Attorney General Jack Conway released a one-sentence statement on Wednesday, noting that Davis' actions are being monitored by U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning, who sent Davis to jail for five days for defying court orders to issue the licenses.

Conway's statement reads: "Judge Bunning and the federal court have control of this matter, and therefore a special state prosecutor is not necessary at this time."

———

8:50 a.m.

A deputy county clerk in Kentucky says that even if his boss tells him to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, he will tell her he can't obey her and will instead follow a judge's order.

Brian Mason works for Rowan County clerk Kim Davis, who was jailed for five days over her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Davis was released Tuesday. A federal judge warned her not to interfere with licensing; deputy clerks have been issuing them in her absence. But Davis' lawyers have said she can't violate her conscience, and she's repeatedly cited her beliefs about homosexuality as an apostolic Christian. The attorneys wouldn't say exactly what she'll do when she returns to work Friday or Monday.

Mason said Wednesday that licenses would be granted to anyone seeking them. He told reporters that if Davis tells him to stop, he will tell her no. Mason says he would have to follow the judge's order to issue licenses.

———

8:25 a.m.

An employee in the office of the Kentucky clerk who was released from jail after a five-day stint for contempt says workers there will issue marriage licenses Wednesday. Their boss will still be out of the office.

Lawyers for Rowan County clerk Kim Davis say she will return to work Friday or Monday. Davis has become a symbol of religious freedom for many as she defied court orders to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, citing her beliefs about homosexuality. She was released from jail Tuesday. A judge warned her not to interfere with licensing, but her lawyers wouldn't say what she'll do.

In the meantime, deputy clerk Brian Mason says the office will issues licenses Wednesday in Davis' absence if anyone seeks them.

Mason says that while Davis was jailed, the office issued 10 licenses: eight Friday, two Tuesday. Seven went to same-sex couples.

———

8 a.m.

Lawyers for the Kentucky clerk who was released from jail Tuesday after her continued refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples say will return to work Friday or Monday.

Charla Bansley, spokeswoman for the Christian law firm Liberty Counsel, said in an emailed statement late Tuesday that Rowan County clerk Kim Davis will take a couple of days off to spend with her family before she returns to work.

Davis' office opened at 8 a.m. Wednesday as scheduled. Davis had been jailed since Thursday. Five of her six deputies issued marriage licenses in her absence. In releasing Davis on Tuesday, a federal judge — the same who put her behind bars — warned her not to interfere with the licensing. But attorney Mat Staver, in comments outside the jail, refused to say whether she would obey U.S. District Judge David Bunning's order. Instead, Staver says Davis won't violate her conscience.

Authorities closed the road in front of the courthouse, where Davis' office is located, early Wednesday. Three protesters stood in front with signs.

———

4:25 a.m.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis will return to work in Kentucky now that she's out of jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

But the apostolic Christian refused to say Tuesday how she would reconcile her conscience with a federal judge's order not to interfere with her deputy clerks issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning released Davis on Tuesday. Her attorney said she will not violate her conscience.

An attorney for the gay couples that sued Davis said they will ask the judge to punish Davis if she continues to defy his order.

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