A federal judge has dismissed three lawsuits filed against Kentucky’s Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples last year.
Davis drew international attention in 2015 when she said her Christian religious beliefs prevented her from providing marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said the right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by the U.S. Constitution. And Davis was jailed briefly for contempt of court by U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning.
Couples who were denied licenses filed the federal lawsuits claiming a violation of civil rights.
On Thursday, Judge Bunning issued an order dismissing the lawsuits. Bunning noted that last January Gov. Matt Bevin signed an order removing names of county clerks from marriage licenses, and that the General Assembly later passed legislation which creates a new marriage license form that does not require the county clerk’s signature.
“In light of these proceedings, and in view of the fact that the marriage licenses continue to be issued without incident, there no longer remains a case or controversy before the Court,” Bunning wrote.
“Kim Davis has won! We celebrate this victory for her and for every American,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, the international nonprofit group that has represented Davis. “…This victory is not just for Kim Davis. It is a victory for everyone who wants to remain true to their deeply-held religious beliefs regarding marriage while faithfully serving the public.”
Amber Duke, communications director for the ACLU of Kentucky which represents some of the couples who brought the lawsuits, said the ACLU had no immediate comment on Bunning’s ruling. “As we’ve said in the past, the true victory is that all loving Kentucky couples can obtain marriage licenses without fear of discrimination,” Duke said.
SOURCE: USA Today – Tom Loftus