A Kentucky clerk who has continued to defy an order that she begin issuing gay marriage licenses was sentenced to jail by U.S. District Judge David Bunning until she complies with his order.
“Her good faith belief is simply not a viable defense,” Bunning said in court, explaining that he believes his only alternative was to jail her because he did not think she would comply with his order even if she were fined.
“Mrs Davis took an oath. Oaths mean things,” Bunning added.
The defiant clerk, who has continued to cite her Christian faith in her refusal to comply, said “thank you” before being ushered out of the courtroom by a U.S. marshall without being in handcuffs, the Associated Press reported.
Davis gave an emotional 20-minute testimony, during which she defended her position and shared how she become a Christian.
“You can’t be separated from something that’s in your heart and in your soul,” she said. “My conscience will not allow it. God’s moral law convicts me and conflicts with my duties.”
April Miller, one of the women trying to obtain a license, also testified. She said she voted for Kim Davis in the election and that this was only about getting her license, not about trying to change Davis’ beliefs.
Emotions were running high outside a federal courthouse in Ashland, Kentucky, before Bunning issued his decision, as hundreds showed up to support their cause. While some rallied in support of gay marriage, others defended Davis.
Davis has repeatedly said that granting gay marriage licenses is precluded by her Christian faith, telling conservative commentator Todd Starnes before Thursday’s hearing that she was fully willing to go to jail.
“I’ve weighed the cost and I’m prepared to go to jail, I sure am,” she said. “This has never been a gay or lesbian issue for me. This is about upholding the word of God.”
Five of the county’s deputy clerks agreed to issue licenses, despite Davis’ and her son Nathan Davis’ — who is the sixth deputy clerk — decisions not to.
Davis’ attorney, Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel, has argued that the government should consider alternatives to forcing Davis to participate in gay nuptials.
One option would be allowing the chief executive of Rowan County to grant licenses. “He can do it in the absence of the clerk and he was willing to do it,” Staver told TheBlaze earlier this week.
The other option is to have Davis’ name removed from licenses, as it currently appears on each document and she disapproves of the necessity of being there in the case of same-sex marriages, Staver explained.
“She is licensing something with her name on it that licenses something that is a sin and not an appropriate relationship in her Judeo-Christian beliefs,” the attorney said.