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Judge Delays Decision on Rowan County Marriage Case

John Flavell

(Editor’s note: The following is a press release issued by ACLU of Kentucky)

U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning heard testimony on Tuesday (July 13) in the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky’s lawsuit against Rowan County and Clerk Kim Davis for refusing to issue marriage licenses to any eligible couple, in an attempt to keep same-gender couples from obtaining them.

“We are happy our clients had the opportunity to explain to a judge their experience of being denied marriage licenses they are eligible for in Rowan County.  Today’s hearing was continued until Clerk Kim Davis signs paperwork acknowledging she has received the complaint.  We look forward to completing these proceedings in Covington at a time and date Judge Bunning sets, so that our clients may receive the relief they are entitled to,” said William Sharp, legal director of the ACLU of Kentucky.

“[Kevin and I] were excited to hear the U.S. Supreme Court marriage equality ruling, but didn’t think it would actually affect our lives.  We are heterosexual, home owning, taxpaying, voting residents of Rowan County.  We live, work, and shop in Rowan County.  We volunteer and plan to retire here.  Clerk Kim Davis denied our license because of her personal beliefs.  She stopped issuing licenses to any couple, and told us to get one in another county.  We were shocked, and couldn’t believe we weren’t going to be issued a license in accordance with the law.  [Kevin and I] were raised in the Lutheran Church, and as we understand Christianity, our marriage, and those of others, should be encouraged and celebrated,” said Jody Fernandez, ACLU of Kentucky client.

“The vast majority of Kentucky county clerk’s offices, and municipalities across the United States for that matter, are open to everyone on the same terms, including to people who are gay and lesbian.  Rowan County is one of three counties in Kentucky currently violating the rights of everyone that is eligible for a marriage license (both gay and straight couples) in an attempt to keep same-gender couples from obtaining licenses and that’s wrong.  Government officials, who have sworn an oath to uphold the law shouldn’t be able to pick and choose who they’re going to serve, or which duties they will perform, based on their religious beliefs,” said Michael Aldridge, executive director of the ACLU of Kentucky.

ACLU of Kentucky Cooperating Attorneys Dan Canon, Laura Landenwich, and Joe Dunman of Clay Daniel Walton & Adams PLC of Louisville are also representing the couples.

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