US clerk jailed for blocking gay marriage to be released

2015-09-08 22:38
Kim Davis. (AP)

Kim Davis. (AP)

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Chicago - The US clerk who was sent to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples was ordered released on Tuesday, with a judge saying her county in Kentucky was now complying with the law.

Kim Davis, a born-again Christian, was jailed on Thursday for contempt of court after refusing to issue licenses due to her opposition to gay marriage, which the Supreme Court legalised across the United States in June.

The federal judge who ordered her held on contempt charges ruled that she can now be released because five of the six deputy clerks in Rowan County "stated under oath that they would comply with the Court's Order and issue marriage certificates to all legally eligible couples".

Davis has become a heroine for millions of Americans opposed to the new law of the land.

Republican presidential hopefuls have jumped on the bandwagon, capitalising on the image of an outspoken Christian woman heading to jail as evidence for their claims that people opposed to gay marriage are suffering religious persecution.

Davis was ordered not to "interfere in any way, directly or indirectly" with the issuance of marriage certificates, Judge David Bunning wrote, warning of "appropriate sanctions" should she do so.

Rowan County handed out its first certificate to a same-sex couple on Friday. The license was altered so that "Rowan County" rather than "Kim Davis" appeared on the line reserved for the name of the clerk.

It was not yet clear whether Davis would continue to insist that her deputies could not issue certificates on her behalf.

The 49-year-old clerk stopped issuing all marriage certificates in mid-August following the Supreme Court's landmark June 26 ruling legalising gay marriage.

Bunning had previously said Davis could be released from jail as soon as she agreed to issue marriage licenses to anyone who qualifies, as her position requires, or resigned from that position.

Her attorney said last week she has no intention to resign or to "violate her conscience and betray her God".

Read more on:    us  |  gay marriage

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