World & Nation

Kentucky clerk who refused to issue gay marriage licenses is out of luck: Supreme Court rejects her case

Kim Davis

Kim Davis, an elected county clerk in eastern Kentucky, has refused to issue any marriage licenses since the high court ruled June 26 that same-sex couples had an equal right to marry.

(Timothy D. Easley / Associated Press)

A Kentucky county clerk claimed for months that she had a religious liberty right to refuse to issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples. She took her argument all the way to the Supreme Court.

On Monday, the Supreme Court, acting quickly and without dissent, turned down her appeal.

The justices agreed with lower courts, which ruled that Kim Davis, as an elected government official, had a duty to comply with the law. Davis has refused to issue any marriage licenses since the high court ruled June 26 that same-sex couples have an equal right to marry. 

LATEST: Kentucky clerk: Office is denying marriage licenses to gay couples ‘under God’s authority


 A U.S. district judge in Kentucky gave Davis until Monday to comply with the law, and the high court refused to waive that deadline.

The court’s action came in a one-line order, and it should make clear that government officials do not have a personal right based on their religious views to deny equal treatment to same-sex couples.

Davis was sued by same-sex couples who sought marriage licenses from her Rowan County office but were turned away.

Davis had maintained that she should be exempted from issuing the licenses because granting them would go against her Christian beliefs and violate her religious freedoms.


Davis' attorneys have said that if her religious objection cannot be accommodated, “then elected officials have no real religious freedom” when they hold public office.

Times staff writer Sarah Parvini contributed to this report.

On Twitter: @DavidGSavage


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