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Appeals court upholds gay marriage ruling in Kentucky

April Miller, right, and her partner Karen Roberts embrace after the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to hear Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis' appeal.

April Miller, right, and her partner Karen Roberts embrace after the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to hear Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis’ appeal.

(Timothy D. Easley / Associated Press)

A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling ordering a Kentucky county clerk to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis objects to same-sex marriage for religious reasons. She stopped issuing marriage licenses in June, the day after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned state bans on same-sex marriage.

Two straight couples and two gay couples sued her. A federal judge ordered Davis to issue the marriage licenses, but later delayed his order so that Davis could have time to appeal to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. On Wednesday, the 6th Circuit denied Davis’ request for a stay.

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“It cannot be defensibly argued that the holder of the Rowan County clerk’s office, apart from who personally occupies that office, may decline to act in conformity with the United States Constitution as interpreted by a dispositive holding of the United States Supreme Court,” Judges Damon J. Keith, John M. Rogers and Bernice B. Donald wrote for the court. “There is thus little or no likelihood that the clerk in her official capacity will prevail on appeal.”

Mat Staver, an attorney for Davis, said he was disappointed with the ruling. He said he plans to discuss options with Davis, including an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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