Earlier this year, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis gained international attention when she openly defied a federal court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She cited her religious beliefs as the reason why she made this decision.
In response to her defiance, the court ordered her into detention, and she spent five days languishing in jail. She was let go on the condition that she not interfere with the issuance of marriage licences by her deputies.
But Kim Davis still had some tricks up her very long sleeves; in September, she changed the wording of the license forms and removed her name and that of Rowan County. She also directed her deputies to sign the forms as 'notary publics' and not as deputy county clerks.
Last month, David Bunning, the federal court judge who had given Davis the order to issue marriage licenses, asked outgoing Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear whether the altered licenses are considered valid within state law.
“While the altered licenses issued by the Rowan County clerk’s office do not fully comply with the statute, such deviation does not necessarily render the licenses ineffective or the marriages solemnized pursuant to said licenses invalid,” said Beshear's lawyer Palmer Vance II to Bunning in a written response.
“Kentucky law favors marriage, and the presumption of the legality of a marriage is one of the strongest known to the law,” Vance continued.
Licenses that do not bear the name of the County clerk may also become the norm in Kentucky. Incoming Governor-Elect Matt Bevin has said that he will be making an order to remove the name of County Clerks from all Marriage licenses issued by the state when he officially assumes office on December.
Your move, Kim.