KENTUCKY: Clerk Kim Davis Testifies That She “Prayed And Fasted” About Denying Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

Infamous Kentucky county clerk and alleged dog-napping conspirator Kim Davis took the stand today in the ACLU’s lawsuit against her for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Via the local CBS affiliate:

Davis told the court she’s an apostolic Christian and her religion says that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. She says her right to freedom of religion affords her the ability to deny same-sex licenses because she believes the wording on the certificate means she’s authorizing the license. Davis said that is something she can’t do. “If I authorize it, I’m saying I agree with it. I can’t do that,” she said. An attorney representing the couples who are suing Davis asked her how far a clerk could take their religious beliefs when it comes to denying licenses. He asked, for example, whether a clerk could refuse a license if they did not believe interracial marriage was biblical. He also asked whether a clerk could deny a license to someone who wanted to get remarried after a divorce. Davis said she couldn’t speak for anyone else and didn’t answer any hypothetical questions. The plaintiff’s attorney asked Davis if she would change her position if the judge orders her to issue those licenses. She said she’d deal with that when the time comes.

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“It was something I had prayed and fasted over. … It wasn’t a spur of the moment decision,” Davis told U.S. District Judge David Bunning, her voice breaking. To authorize licenses, she said, means “I’m saying I agree with it, and I can’t.” Her choice to also deny licenses to straight couples was because “I didn’t want to discriminate against anyone.” Two of those straight couples and two gay couples from Rowan County sued Davis shortly after her office stopped issuing marriage licenses to anyone in the wake of the June 26 decision by the Supreme Court, which overturned Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage and declared the practice legal across the country.  After the hearing, Davis’ lawyer, Roger Gannam of Liberty Counsel, a non-profit firm that specializes in religious-freedom cases, said the plaintiffs could have obtained licenses in Ashland, the site of the previous hearing, or in Covington. “This case is not about these plaintiffs’ desire to get married,” Gannam said. “This case is about the plaintiffs’ desire to force Kim Davis to approve and authorize their marriages in violation of her Constitutionally protected religious beliefs.”

The judge said today that he will issue his ruling during the week of August 11th. Kentucky’s county clerks are elected and can only be removed by the state legislature, which does not reconvene until January. Renegade clerks face jail time for contempt of court should they refuse an order to issue licenses.