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Kentucky Clerk’s Office Continues To Refuse Marriage Licenses

Photo caption:

Photo by Timothy D. Easley AP

James Yates (left) and William Smith Jr. walk to the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., on Aug. 13 hoping to get a marriage license. They were turned away for a third time Thursday morning.

A Kentucky county clerk's office denied a marriage license for a same-sex couple on Thursday, despite a federal appeals court ruling the night before that upheld a judge's order compelling her to issue the licenses.

Citing religion objections, Kim Davis of Rowan County has refused to issue any marriage licenses since the Supreme Court's ruling June 26 that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

She has been sued by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of four couples, two same-sex and two straight. A district judge had ordered her to start issuing the licenses, but Davis filed an appeal and the judge said she could wait until Aug. 31 or for a decision from the U.S. 6th District Court of Appeals — whichever came first.

The decision did, on Wednesday. In denying Davis' bid, the appeals court wrote:

"It cannot be defensibly argued that the holder of the Rowan County Clerk's office, apart from who personally occupies that office, may decline to act in conformity with the United States Constitution as interpreted by a dispositive holding of the United States Supreme Court. There is thus little or no likelihood that the Clerk in her official capacity will prevail on appeal."

On Thursday morning, William Smith Jr. and James Yates were turned away for a license. It was the couple's third try, according to The Associated Press.

The AP reports:

"A deputy clerk in Davis' office told Smith and Yates on Thursday that the office believes Bunning's delay remains in effect until Aug. 31. He refused to give his name or give them a license. "Davis, meanwhile, sat in her office with the door closed. She talked on the phone, ignoring the commotion as the couples, trailed by activists and reporters, poured in through the door and demanded answers."

Davis' attorney Mat Staver says his client is considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, another Kentucky clerk is also refusing to issue marriage licenses, calling the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage a "war on Christianity." On a West Virginia morning radio show, Casey County Clerk Casey Davis (no relation to Kim) said he was willing to "fight and die" for his cause.

"Our law says 'one man and one woman,' and that is what I held my hand up and took an oath to and that is what I expected," Davis told WVHU. "If it takes my life, I will die ... because I believe I owe that to the people that fought so I can have the freedom that I have, I owe that to them today, and you do, we all do."

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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