Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Update on Kim Davis and Marriage Licenses In Kentucky

On Monday, Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis, after spending 5 days in jail on contempt charges, returned to work still opposed on religious grounds to issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples.  However, as reported by CNN, she did not prevent her deputy clerks from issuing licences reading that they were issued "pursuant to federal court order." Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear said that the state will recognize these licenses as valid.  Meanwhile, yesterday in Davis v. Beshear, (6th Cir., Sept. 15, 2015), the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Davis request for a preliminary injunction against the Governor and the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives seeking to prevent them from enforcing the district court order that county clerks issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and exempting her from issuing licenses pending appeal of the district court's delay in passing on her request for an injunction. (See prior related posting.) The court said in part:
Davis maintains that the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples burdens her sincerely held religious beliefs in violation of the U.S. Constitution, the Kentucky Constitution, and the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Davis has not demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on her federal constitutional claims. We need not address the merits of her claims under Kentucky law because the Eleventh Amendment of the U.S. Constitution precludes the federal courts from compelling state officials to comply with state law.