Kentucky Clerk Jailed for Contempt Due to Religious Objections

ASHLAND, Ky. (AP/Hamodia) —

A defiant county clerk was sent to jail for contempt Thursday after insisting that her “conscience will not allow” her to follow a federal judge’s orders to comply with a recent, highly controversial ruling of the Supreme Court.

“G-d’s moral law conflicts with my job duties,” Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis told U.S. District Judge David Bunning.

The judge said she left him with no alternative but to jail her, since fines alone would not change her mind. A federal marshal escorted her, without handcuffs, out of the courtroom.

“Her good faith belief is simply not a viable defense,” Bunning said, noting that allowing an individual’s beliefs to supersede the court’s authority would set a dangerous precedent.

The judge also told all five of the clerk’s deputies, that they are free to issue licenses to all applicants while Davis is held in contempt, but would also face fines or jail if they refuse to comply.

Davis is being represented by the Liberty Counsel, an organization that advocates in court for religious freedoms. Her lawyer argued that the deputy clerks cannot issue licenses against Davis’ authority, but the judge overruled this objection.

But many supporters, have rallied around her, including Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who called her personally the day before.

Davis said she hopes the Legislature will change Kentucky laws to find some way for her to keep her job while following her conscience. But unless the governor convenes a costly special session, they won’t meet until next year. “Hopefully our legislature will get something taken care of,” Davis told the judge.

Until then, the judge said, he has no alternative but to keep her behind bars as long as she refuses to follow the law.

“The legislative and executive branches do have the ability to make changes,” Bunning said. “It’s not this court’s job to make changes. I don’t write law.”

As an elected official, Davis can be removed only if the Legislature impeaches her, which is unlikely in a deeply conservative state.

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