Kentucky Judge Rules Davis In Contempt

Protestors in Ashland, Ky

Federal judge David Bunning ordered Kim Davis, the clerk of Rowan County, jailed on Thursday for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Kentucky.

Davis was elected county clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky only 66 miles west of Huntington, West Virginia, in November 2014. Davis said she is “under God’s authority” for not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

A ruling on August 12 by Judge Bunning instructed Davis to issue the same-sex marriage licenses. She submitted an appeal that was overruled on Monday. It was her defiance against the Monday ruling, which brought her to the courthouse in Ashland, Kentucky on Thursday.

Davis was not the only person present at the courthouse. Protesters flooded the courtroom and the stairs outside of the courthouse. Dozens of signs were carried by the crowd.

The courthouse anticipated the large crowd and potential for intense protesting.

“Repent or Perish” and “Repent, Turn to Jesus or Burn” were two of the largest signs visible that supported Davis’s decision to refuse to distribute the marriage licenses.

“My Jesus Says Love” and “Small Town Not Small Mind” were two signs among many others that supported Judge Bunning’s ruling.

The protesting remained nonviolent, although tense and heated arguments broke out at times among protestors. There were multiple instances where an argument gradually escalated into a chant.

Chants could be heard as far as a block away. “Gay or straight, black or white, marriage is a civil right!” was one of the many chants being echoed among the pit of protestors. Protestor Katie Rabalais said it was “despicable” for Davis to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Protestor Zanthia Hill on the other hand said she was there to “support religious liberty and Christian rights.”

The courthouse anticipated the large crowd and potential for intense protesting. Homeland Security was present as well as the U.S. Marshalls. Local and state police officers lined the roads in front of and along the sides of the courthouse.

Judge Bunning ruled that Davis would be released as soon as she agrees to start issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Until that time, Davis will remain in jail.


Taylor Poling can be reached at [email protected]