US: Christian clerk sued over marriage licence refusal

Four couples in the US state of Kentucky are suing a registrar who is declining to issue marriage licences following the Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage for every state last month.

Kim Davis, clerk for Rowan County, said her “deep-rooted” Christian convictions meant that rather than be forced to issue same-sex marriage licences she would not issue any at all.

She said, “my conscience won’t allow me to do that. It goes against everything I hold dear”.

Legal action

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky is taking legal action on behalf of two homosexual and two heterosexual couples who were refused marriage licences last week.

State law allows couples to obtain marriage licences in any county in Kentucky, and the Rowan County offices asked the couples to go elsewhere when Davis declined to issue them.

Another Kentucky clerk, Casey Davis, has written to the Governor saying he will not issue same-sex marriage licences.

Conscience

Casey Davis, of Casey County, said that when he took an oath for the job, he promised to do it to the best of his ability, which does not go beyond what his conscience will allow him to do.

In Tennessee, a County clerk and her two employees all resigned as a result of the Supreme Court ruling.

County clerk Gwen Pope said they made the decision not to draw attention to themselves, but “for the glory of God”.

Core values

And in Mississippi, a clerk resigned because issuing a same-sex marriage licence would violate her core values as a Christian.

Last month, the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favour of redefining marriage across every state in America.

One of the dissenting judges, Clarence Thomas, was alarmed at the possible impact on religious liberty, warning that conflict could arise when people are “confronted with demands to participate in and endorse civil marriages between same-sex couples”.

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