Tuesday, September 22, 2015

More On Rowan County, Kentucky, and Marriage Licenses

When Kentucky federal district court Judge David Bunning released Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis from jail where she had been placed for refusing to comply with a court order to issue same-sex marriage licenses (see prior posting), he also ordered the five deputy clerks who agreed to comply with the order to file a status report every 14 days. (Full text of order). The first of the ordered reports (full text) was filed on Sept. 18 on behalf of Deputy Brian Mason, the Deputy Clerk who, by mutual agreement, is actually issuing the licenses.  He reports in detail on language changes Kim Davis made in the forms. These include elimination of references to Davis in the form. The other Deputy Clerks filed their first status reports yesterday (Sept. 21).  Perhaps the most interesting (full text) is the one filed on behalf of Deputy Clerk Kristy Plank, which says in part:
As of this filing, Mrs. Plank reports that, to the best of her knowledge, all requests for marriage licenses requested by legally qualified couples have been issued.  The only denial of a marriage license application that has occurred within the last two weeks was to a gentleman who stated that he wanted a license that would permit him to marry “Jesus”. When it was explained to the individual that both parties had to be present, he stated, “Jesus is always present”. After being denied, the gentleman returned later and presented a type of Power of Attorney document issued by his church granting him authority to sign “Jesus’” name. Since both parties were not present these requests were denied.
For those who want to follow all the filings in this case (and in other cases involving LGBT rights), a comprehensive source is the non-profit organization Equality Case Files which posts these primary source materials online.  They are most easily accessed through the group's Twitter feed, its Facebook page or its library on Scribd. [Thanks to Marty Lederman via Religionlaw for the lead.]

UPDATE: On Sept. 21, the ACLU filed a motion (full text) with the court asking it to issue an order requiring marriage licences issued by the Rowan County Clerk's Office to be in the form that was used prior to Sept. 8, and not in the altered form that Davis has imposed. The motion argues that the changes-- especially listing the person signing it as "Notary Public" rather than "Deputy Clerk"-- cast question on the validity of the license and casts "a stamp of animus against the LGBT community."