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Kentucky Clerk Denies Marriage License To Two Couples, Despite Judge's Order

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis as she goes into the U.S. District Court in July with her lawyer. Davis says that issuing same-sex marriage licenses violates her religious beliefs.
Timothy D. Easley

A same-sex marriage fight continues in Kentucky, where a county clerk's staff turned away two different same-sex couples in search of marriage licenses on Thursday, saying no licenses would be issued, writes The New York Times.

This comes after a decision on Wednesday from a federal judge ordering the county clerk, Kim Davis, to start issuing marriage licenses, after she initially refused to do so, the Timesnotes. The paper says that Davis didn't show up at work on Thursday.

NPR's Debbie Elliott tells our Newscast unit that Davis has stopped issuing marriage licenses citing religious objections, but that "U.S. District Judge David Bunning ruled her religious beliefs don't excuse her from performing her government duties."

Davis, who is located in Rowan County, Ky., has stopped issuing marriage licenses, whether to same-sex or straight couples, Debbie says.

She is appealing the judge's decision, according to Matt Staver of Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit organization advocating for religious freedom.

"You can't just simply ignore religious convictions. That's why we have the first amendment," he says.

The Associated Press notes that in Kentucky, a county clerk issues the marriage license while "someone else must 'solemnize' the marriage. Then the license can be filed with the county clerk."

David Ermold, the AP says, was denied a license to marry his partner of 17 years. "I will say that people are cruel, they are cruel, these people are cruel," Ermold said. "This is how gay people are treated in this country. This is what it's like. This is how it feels."

The AP reports that Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has told Davis that she needs to issue marriage licenses or resign.

Debbie adds that in other states, like Alabama, some probate judges have stopped giving out marriage licenses instead of following the Supreme Court ruling. That means people may have to travel outside of their county to get find a judge issuing licenses.

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