December 2017 Church & State - December 2017

Anti-LGBTQ Ky. Clerk Kim Davis Back In The News

  AU admin

Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who made national news in 2015 when she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was back in the headlines this fall.

Most recently, Davis (R) announced on Nov. 7 that she will seek re-election in 2018 as Rowan County clerk, according to her attorney, Mat Staver, founder of the Religious Right legal group Liberty Counsel. It will be the first time that Davis, who is completing her first six-year term as county clerk, will face re-election since she refused to issue marriage licenses to any couples, gay or straight, in a bid to prevent same-sex couples from marrying.

“She’s not interested in any other office,” said Staver, apparently seeking to tamp down rumors that Davis might use her heightened name recognition to seek higher political office.

A gay man whose license Davis denied told Kentucky public radio station WKU that he’s considering running against her.

“If Kim Davis was re-elected in that position without an appropriate fight, I’d probably regret it for the rest of my life,” said David Ermold, who added that he and his husband, David Moore, are strategizing how best to mount a campaign against her.

Davis was briefly jailed in 2015 for her refusal to fulfill her mandated elected responsibility. Citing her Apostolic Christian beliefs in opposition to marriage equality, she not only refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples personally, but ordered her staff to deny them as well. She was freed after her office began issuing marriage licenses with her name left off the marriage documents.

Several couples, including Ermold and Moore, filed a lawsuit against her; Americans United filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, arguing that Davis’ actions were unconstitutional.

Davis’ antics have cost Kentucky taxpayers. A federal judge on Oct. 23 reaffirmed his earlier order that Kentucky and its taxpayers must cover nearly $225,000 in legal fees and court costs owed to the couples who sued. U.S. District Judge David Bunning said that because Davis was acting in her official capacity and the state primarily regulates marriage licenses, the state must cover the fees, not Davis personally or Rowan County.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R), a supporter of Davis, had asked Bunning to reconsider his order. It’s unknown whether Bevin will appeal to a higher court; Davis’ attorney had also previously vowed to appeal Bunning’s first order, even though it left Davis off the hook for the legal fees.

Earlier in October, Davis expanded her crusade against marriage equality when she accompanied Liberty Counsel representatives to Romania, where some citizens have petitioned for a nationwide referendum to define marriage as only between one man and one woman in the nation’s constitution.

The New York Times reported that few Romanians seemed to know who Davis is, but LGBTQ rights groups denounced her meddling in that country.

“It is extremely worrying that a person who broke the law in the United States is being brought to Romania and presented as some sort of hero of Christianity,” said Vlad Viski, the president of the LGBTQ advocacy group MozaiQ.

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