Clerk who refuses same-sex marriage licenses faces federal judge

Same-sex marriage supporters wave flags outside the federal hearing. (FOX19 NOW)
Same-sex marriage supporters wave flags outside the federal hearing. (FOX19 NOW)

COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) - Supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage protested outside the U.S. District Court in Covington as a Kentucky court clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples went before a federal judge Monday.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis is one of several elected officials who have cited religious objections in refusing to comply with the Supreme Court's ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. In her testimony, Davis said she prayed and fasted for months before deciding to stop issuing licenses.

She is being used by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of two gay couples and two straight couples.

Davis said the first amendment gives the right to refuse the same-sex marriage because it violates her religious beliefs.

Attorneys for the ACLU said Davis' argument would mean clerks could also deny marriage licenses to people who have been divorced or committed other actions that some consider sinful, the AP reports. 

Davis made headlines earlier this month after a video showed the clerk's office turning away two men seeking a marriage license. David Moore, of Morehead, and his partner of 17 years filmed an employee advise them to get their license in another county.

The video has been viewed more than one million times on YouTube.

Following the Supreme Court's ruling, Gov. Steve Beshear urged all Kentucky clerks to issue marriage licenses. Multiple Kentucky clerks asked Beshear to call a special legislative session to address the issue. Beshear declined, citing the cost to taxpayers, the AP reports.

Some of the courthouse protesters held "We Stand for Kim" signs while others waved the rainbow flag.

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