A federal judge has ordered a Kentucky clerk to jail after she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Kim Davis, a clerk in Rowan County, was found in contempt of court on Thursday morning. She has said granting marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples would “violate God’s definition of marriage” and infringe on her personal beliefs as an Apostolic Christian.
Davis, in tears, said on the stand that she could not comply with the judge’s order. U.S. Marshals later took her into custody.
“Thank you, judge,” Davis said as she was being led out.
District Court Judge David Bunning has said Davis is bound by an oath of office to perform her duties under the law, and ordered that she be jailed until she complied with his order to grant licenses.
Bunning has upheld the Supreme Court’s decision in June to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, and wrote last month after the contempt lawsuit was filed that the state is merely forcing her to do her job within the law.
Before the hearing, dozens of protesters on both side of the issue clashed outside of the federal courthouse in Covington, some in support of Davis for standing up for her beliefs.
While clerks in other states have made similar refusals, Davis’ defiance is the most prominent — leading GOP presidential candidates to weigh in and casting a spotlight on her personal life, too.
It was revealed this week that she was divorced three times and had children out of wedlock before a religious awakening became a turning point in her life.
Davis, a registered Democrat, had worked as a deputy clerk for 27 years before voters in Rowan County elected her as clerk last November.
As an elected official, she can only be removed in a vote by state legislators, who don’t reconvene in the State House until January.
Despite her political leanings, she’s likely to get much support from Republicans lawmakers.