By Leigh Jones
(WNS)–A Kentucky county clerk will not have to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples while she appeals her case to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Last week, a district court judge ordered Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to issue the licenses or face fines and possible jail time. Davis maintains her sincerely held religious beliefs prevent her from issuing the licenses.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning said Aug. 17 Rowan didn’t deserve a reprieve from last week’s order but gave her one because “emotions are running high on both sides of the debate.”
After the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage across all 50 states, Davis stopped issuing any marriage licenses. She and her supporters want the Kentucky legislature to pass a law protecting clerks from penalties for not issuing licenses to same-sex couples, but Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, has said he won’t call a special session to consider the issue.
In asking Bunning for a stay, Davis’ attorney said the order would force his client to violate her conscience.
“It is comparable to forcing the religious objecting nurse to perform an abortion, the religious objecting company or non-profit to pay for abortions or abortion-related insurance coverage, the religious objecting non-combatant to fire on an enemy soldier, or the religious objecting state official to participate in or attend the execution of a convicted prisoner,” Jonathan Christman wrote.