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Kentucky Clerk Says She 'Prayed And Fasted' Before Deciding To Stop Issuing Marriage Licenses

A Kentucky county clerk says she "prayed and fasted" before ultimately deciding to stop issuing marriage licenses altogether in the wake of the Supreme Court's legalization of same-sex marriage

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis is facing a federal class action lawsuit brought against her by two gay couples and two straight couples after she refused to issue them marriage licenses, The Louisville Courier-Journal reports. Davis, who is reportedly a Apostolic Christian and attends church three times a week, testified July 20 in a Covington, Kentucky courtroom that she "sought God" as she contemplated her options for months ahead of the Supreme Court's June 26 ruling on marriage equality. 

"It was something I had prayed and fasted over," she said, according to The Lexington Herald-Leader. "It wasn't a spur of the moment decision." Issuing licenses under her name, she added, would violate her religious beliefs, even if a deputy clerk were to do so in her stead. "If I say they are authorized, I’m saying I agree with it, and I can’t." 

Davis, who has been a deputy clerk in Rowan for 27 years, said she had never cited religious grounds for objecting to anything related to her job before. Still, she told The Lexington Herald-Leader she has no plans to resign from her job. 

"That leaves my deputies to deal with this," she said. "If I resign, it solves nothing and helps no one."

Meanwhile, Davis's attorney has argued that his client's case "is not about these plaintiffs' desire to get married," and said they could travel to neighboring counties to obtain marriage licenses. 

"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," Roger Gannam of Liberty Counsel told the Herald-Leader. 

The plaintiffs in the case against Davis, of course, feel differently.

"It’s not like we heard that three counties over a county clerk wasn’t issuing marriage licenses," April Miller, who hopes to marry her partner, Karen Roberts, told Newsweek. "We live here; we work in this county; we pay our taxes here."

"We just didn’t understand why we should have to drive to another courthouse because she was not doing her job," added Jody Fernandez, who is another plaintiff, along with her partner, Kevin Holloway. "If she cannot do her job, then she should not be working there."

Davis is one of two county clerks in Kentucky who have refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex and opposite-sex couples since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide. The other, Casey Davis of Casey County, has not been sued, but had wanted Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear to call for a special session of the state legislature so it can pass a law allowing couples to purchase marriage licenses online in a process similar to obtaining a hunting or fishing license. 

Casey Davis, who was on hand at the courthouse July 20 to support Kim Davis, told The Lexington Herald-Leader that he had, in fact, met with Beshear, but was told to do his job or resign. 

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