A Kentucky clerk who spent five days in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples asked a federal appeals court Tuesday to dismiss her appeals of a judge's ruling because of a new state law that will take effect next month.
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling effectively legalized gay marriage last year. Two gay couples and two straight couples sued her. A federal judge ordered her to issue the licenses, but she refused and went to jail.
Davis appealed the decision, and a federal appeals court had scheduled arguments in the case next month. But in April, the state Legislature approved a new law removing the county clerks' names and authorizations from state marriage licenses. Davis said the law accommodates her religious beliefs and makes her appeals unnecessary.
In a news release, Davis thanked state lawmakers, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, her attorneys and Jesus Christ.
"I am pleased that I can continue to serve my community as the Rowan County Clerk without having to sacrifice my religious convictions and conscience," said Davis, who was elected as a Democrat but switched to a Republican after her incarceration. She will be up for reelection in 2018.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, which also sued Davis, says it agrees that Davis' appeals should be dismissed. However, spokeswoman Amber Duke said the merits of the case unrelated to her specific appeal are still before the courts.
"On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court's ruling, we're pleased that same-sex couples can fully realize legal recognition of their love, including in Rowan County, Ky.," said James D. Esseks, director of the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & HIV Project.
Davis' attorneys are asking the appeals court to dismiss her appeals and to vacate all of the court orders issued in the case, including the contempt order from U.S. District Judge David Bunning that sent Davis to jail. Davis' attorneys also ask the court that "no costs be taxed against her."