Defying Supreme Court, Kim Davis denies same-sex couple marriage licenses “under God’s authority”

Yesterday, the Supreme Court told Kim Davis that — for serious this time — she needs to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, denying a stay she had requested on a lower court’s ruling.

Today, she took the Court’s denial in stride by pretending it never happened, continuing to refuse to issue marriage licenses:

In the video, uploaded by earlier this morning, a same-sex couple is shown repeatedly asking Davis why she won’t grant them a marriage license. Her responses range from defiant to delirious:

Davis: We’re not issuing marriage licenses today.

Man: The Supreme Court denied your stay.

Davis: We are not issuing marriage licenses today, so I would ask you all to…

Man: Based on what? Why are you not issuing marriage licenses today?

Davis: Because we’re not.

Partner: Under whose authority are you not issuing marriage licenses?

Davis: [stern look] Under God’s authority.

This set the assembled crowd off, prompting Davis to ask them to leave (again) because “you all are interrupting my business.” The County Clerk’s office, as Davis knows, is not a business. Davis eventually returned to her office, retreating from the room to chants of “This is your job.”

But perhaps not for much longer. By going against the ruling of literally every court that has weighed in on this case thus far, refusing to issue marriage licenses after the deadline for her to do so had passed, Davis could easily find herself charged with official misconduct — a charge that could carry either fines or jail time.

Another video from the exchange shows Davis telling the couple that, while she doesn’t value them less as people for being gay, she can’t in good conscience issue a marriage license to them because “I’m willing to face my consequences as you all will face your consequences when it comes time for judgment.”

The administrator sitting next to Davis throughout the exchange looks really uncomfortable. I wonder why.

In any case, God has no authority in the County Clerk’s office. Sooner or later Rowan County, Kentucky will begin issuing marriage licenses again — to all couples. The only question is whether those licenses are issued by a conciliatory, apologetic Kim Davis or by someone else, with Kim Davis either resigned or in jail.

UPDATE: The ACLU of Kentucky has filed a contempt of court motion against Davis.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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75 Responses to “Defying Supreme Court, Kim Davis denies same-sex couple marriage licenses “under God’s authority””

  1. LADY MABELINE says:

    You got your wish.

  2. FLL says:

    I’m hoping that there will be no Christianist GoFundMe campaign to pay Kim Davis’ inevitable fines, but I’m dreading that there might be. Even if Kim Davis serves very brief jail time, she’ll be able to enrich herself by becoming a celebrity bigot, giving lectures for a hefty fee and having people ghost write books in her name. She might just be betting on getting rich as a result of this mess. I don’t think anyone ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of fundamentalist Christians with spending money. I fear Kim Davis just wants to cash in. $$

  3. dcinsider says:

    Well, it was pretty cold in Massachusetts and a lot of snow this past winter, so clearly god was punishing the citizens of Massachusetts. I can’t decide if that was because of same-sex marriage, or because climate change is not real, thus no global warming because it snowed.

    I decided it was because of the Kennedys.

  4. BeccaM says:

    Personally, I doubt she would have turned you down, unless you’d been obviously marrying someone of the same gender. There’s been a story floating around the ‘net lately about how her office apparently inadvertently allowed a woman and transgender man to marry earlier this year because it would seem that checking birth certificates (not legal, but anyway) wasn’t part of her personal process and the dude passed extremely well.

    Also as far as I can tell, she never turned away atheist, agnostic, or non-Christian couples nor employed any sort of religious test for issuing or registering marriage licenses. Obviously she never had any problem with divorced couples or with adulterers, being one herself. I’m certain she never asked the women who showed up whether they were virgins before applying, and unless one is a widow marrying your brother-in-law (even if he already has a wife), the Bible is quite clear about being allowed to marry if not a virgin and the answer is “No, you may not.”

    Just gay people and only gay people. That’s where she drew the line and in Davis’ typical Ala Carte Christianity practices, decided they were the only ones she’d refuse to serve, in defiance of the law.

  5. dcinsider says:

    When will the law win?

    Two answers: It already has, and eventually. The law is clear, so the win has occurred. However, cases like this take some time. In the end, Rowan County WILL give out marriage licenses. Probably within a few days.

    However, the same system that acknowledged our right to marry is the same system that permits idiots like her to attempt to gain their advantage in the courts. Most sane people (and most competent attorneys) would cease trying to fight a SCOTUS decision, if for no other reason than there is no place else to go. Her attorneys seem fine with placing her in harm’s way of fines (and possibly jail time). That’s because they are craven ideologues who are using a very simple idiot to do their dirty work.

    However, the law is on our side. Kim Davis’ moment in the sun will fade rapidly after Thursday’s hearing. Any of the clerks who refuse to give out the licenses are in for a world of hurt.

    Frankly, this is a good thing. We needed a challenge like this, and defiance, to scare the shit out of any other public official who thinks they are in charge. Kim Davis is doing us all a favor, and since she is such an obvious fucking hypocrite, we could not have picked a better poster child for the religious right lunatics.

  6. rmthunter says:

    A footnote: It also occurs to me that they know they don’t have a majority in this country, which is why they’ve been focusing on local and state governments: that gives them control of elections. And let’s face it — they don’t really like the idea of democracy all that much.

  7. rmthunter says:

    One thing that strikes me, thinking about possible consequences for Davis: I won’t guess whether she’s looking forward to “Christian” crowd-funding to save her ass, and in the short term, she’s going to be a hero to the “Christian” community — she’ll join the bakers and florists on the martyr circuit — all on “Christian” radio and TV shows — but for the wider audience — the American public — crap like this is a major turn off. I’m reminded of one very basic idea that a very smart history professor imparted: History is a series of reactions. I think we’re starting to see the reaction to the last couple of generations of “Christian” hegemony in American politics, and it ain’t going to be pretty — for them — especially when they start setting themselves up against the Constitution..

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  9. Baal says:

    The most important thing in my dog Oscar’s life may well be his personal relationship with Jesus. He’s a dog. Me, not so much. I didn’t believe that the biblical Jesus ever actually existed when I got married. That idiot clerk, now on husband number 4, would probably have refused to issue us a license. Not godly or something.

  10. BeccaM says:

    This is a hoot, rising to the level of Jerry Springer-esque awfulness:

    The Kentucky county clerk facing potentially stiff penalties for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses has been married four times, raising questions of hypocrisy and selective application of the Bible to her life.

    The marriages are documented in court records obtained by U.S. News, which show that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis divorced three times, first in 1994, then 2006 and again in 2008.

    She gave birth to twins five months after divorcing her first husband. They were fathered by her third husband but adopted by her second. Davis worked at the clerk’s office at the time of each divorce and has since remarried.

    (Emphasis added. Source:

    So not only do we have a woman getting divorced repeatedly, in defiance of rather explicit Biblical injunctions against it, Davis is also a serial adulterer. I’m pretty sure the Bible is clear on the recommended sentence for that, too: Being stoned to death.

  11. Butch1 says:


  12. Indigo says:

    Oh, I think so. She’s the local Sunday School celebrity. When that part of her social network backs away, she’ll find out she’s standing alone. That’s sad. But she did bring it on herself.

  13. Butch1 says:

    I know; I’m only speaking on behalf of myself. You’re probably correct in assuming that, though on some level she may have enjoyed all the attention she was getting; it made her feel important.

  14. BeccaM says:

    Indeed. Bibles shouldn’t be crusty. T’is blasphemous. ;-)

  15. Wayne says:

    Um go read a bible and you will see God said to follow the laws of the land.

    Romans 13

    1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves

  16. nicho says:

    That really doesn’t cover marriage licenses. Also doesn’t cover women lying with women. Also doesn’t mean what you think it means. Learn Hebrew and get back to us.

  17. nicho says:

    Bible says Christians should obey civil law because civil law comes from god. Maybe you need to read your bible again — unless there are pages stuck together. Ewwwwww.

  18. nicho says:

    The Supreme Court cannot be “trumped” by an imaginary being.

  19. BeccaM says:

    And furthermore, it was written only in reference to a particular Jewish group, in the larger context of how they were supposed to behave only while living in one particular ‘holy’ geographic location.

    Shall we take bets, Brink, on whether today’s Special Guest Troll keeps kosher, wears mixed fabrics, and/or has his hair cut?

  20. BeccaM says:

    I read an article recently on Alternet, in which Carol Queen posits that psychologically, some of the most virulent of the anti-gay and/or anti-porn crusaders actually become sexually aroused when they denounce.

    CQ: “Absexuality––an idea I developed with my partner Robert Morgan Lawrence––is the notion that some of the people who rail against porn or sodomy (or any of the other controversial items on the sexual smorgasbord) are actually turned on by the thing they decry. They may not know it consciously, but being anti-whatever actually gives one a grand excuse for being immersed in whatever. It’s not the simple “I’m afraid I’m really gay, so I’ll say homophobic shit all the time. That’ll throw ‘ em off the track!” That does happen, of course. Absexuality goes a little deeper—it’s associated with real turn-on, not just discomfort, and I believe many absexuals don’t truly understand what a strong erotic response they’re actually having.

    I do think many of the finger-wavers are absexual, but I’ll say that not all of them are—some are garden-variety panderers, bigots, or even simple hypocrites (Josh Duggar/AshleyMadison, anyone?). Clue to an absexual: They just can’t seem to shut up about it. And they get really worked up—I believe they go into the sexual response cycle when they begin to pontificate
    about the things they hate so much.


  21. BeccaM says:

    Yeah — they’re looking to bleed her dry financially rather than make her a martyr, which is a smart move.

  22. Brink Kelly says:

    That’s from the Jewish book/

  23. Brink Kelly says:

    I have a feeling he knows more about sodomy than he is telling.

  24. BeccaM says:

    If the Christian God genuinely has a problem with a Supreme Court ruling, let him do the smiting. Otherwise it’s just prideful people claiming without proof to know what God wants, when in fact it’s nothing but an expression of their own bigotry, prejudices and narrow-minded

    You got anything to say about the fact that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has been divorced three times, which I seem to recall is one of the very few things that Jesus fellow expressed any kind of opinion about when it came to marriage-related issues? Let me help you with a clue-by-four: He wasn’t in favor of divorce.

  25. trinu says:

    You’re right, and I just saw the line in the motion for contempt specifically asking that they not incarcerate her, so I guess it would be a moot point anyways.

  26. BeccaM says:

    Which ‘man’ are you talking about? President Obama? This kind of petty shit is way below his pay grade.

  27. Brink Kelly says:

    In a Nation of Laws, you couldn’t be more wrong.

  28. trinu says:

    Perhaps but will the man that let Cliven Bundy get away with pointing guns at federal agents actually send in the marshalls when she refuses to pay or if the judge decides to jail her?

  29. BeccaM says:

    Although the ACLU filing is only asking for fines, contempt of court can include jail time at the judge’s discretion. Even more seriously for Davis though, Rowan County’s attorneys have referred official misconduct charges against her with the Kentucky AG’s office — and those can carry both fines and jail time.

    Here’s the sticking point: Davis’ refusal to do her job is costing Rowan County taxpayers money and could cost them a whole lot more if the county itself is found liable for tolerating Davis’ illegal actions.

    She’s still toast, but the bigot doesn’t know it yet. Or refuses to acknowledge the reality of the all-but-predetermined outcome. She’ll end up flat broke and sued into penury…and she might get some time off in the pokey too.

  30. jim says:

    Don’t think this clerk can use religion to disobey a Supreme Court ruling. Huckabee even said she can shows how dumb he is. Gal is going to try to avoid civil liability on religious grounds but don’t think that will work either. Clerk is not doing her job which she took and oath to do sad but she is asking for trouble and will find it.

  31. Indigo says:

    Maybe Robertson will foot her legal expenses and the fines that are beginning to add up.

  32. everyone is right says:

    So you missed the verse on a man laying with another man as a woman huh?

  33. everyone is right says:

    Read your Bible again. Jesus did not come to change the laws

  34. everyone is right says:

    Glad to see there are still a few folks that realize God’s trumps the Supreme Court in all rulings

  35. BeccaM says:

    It’s also supposedly a tenet of Christian faith that one is supposed to obey the laws and rules of one’s government. “Render unto Ceasar–” and all that.

    To delve into a metaphoric cliche, Davis “wants to have her cake and eat it, too.” She wants the salary, benefits, and status of being the duly-elected Rowan County Clerk — but she wants to pick and choose what parts of her job she feels like doing, and ignore the rest.

    Based on the multitude of lawsuits and misconduct charges she’s now facing, eventually she’ll either have to capitulate or resign.

  36. BeccaM says:

    Pretty much. That’s the beauty of the appeal to irrefutable authority and circular reasoning scam: It can support absolutely any position you care to take, no matter how vile or discriminatory, and you never have to give any reason other than the 100% unprovable “Angy Sky Daddy God says so.”

  37. BeccaM says:


  38. FLL says:

    It’s happening as we type. Pat Robertson just declared that Kim Davis is a victim of “sodomy as the law of the land.” Lots of laughs, no?

  39. BeccaM says:

    In addition to the contempt-of-court charges, Davis has been sued in civil court by the couples she’s been refusing to serve (which includes BOTH same and opposite sex couples wanting to get married in their home county). And yes, she is now also subject to ‘official misconduct’ charges, which have been referred by Rowan County to the Kentucky attorney general for consideration, charges which can include both fines and jail time.

    It’s just me, but I have a feeling this woman is suddenly going to find herself saddled with some very, very big court settlement debts in the not-to-distant future. At which point she’ll have to either quit or do her f*cking job.

  40. Don Chandler says:

    As a deist, I now have evidence that god is a*broad.

  41. Don Chandler says:

    You’ll be a pinata in some neighborhoods.

  42. Indigo says:

    Interesting points.

  43. Indigo says:

    That could happen.

  44. nicho says:

    I have just started sewing my Kim Davis costume for Halloween.

  45. crazymonkeylady says:

    Send in the Marines. Just like Huckabee wants to send troops to stop abortions! Would she like the Marines up in her face? The Gay Marines? Just say no to those guys and gals…

  46. crazymonkeylady says:

    May I suggest that God pay you instead of the Government? No work, no check…

  47. nicho says:

    Under whose authority are you not issuing marriage licenses?

    Davis: [stern look] Under God’s authority.

    So, basically the same authority that’s motivating ISIS in all the things they’re doing.

  48. kimn8r says:

    She’s breaking a Federal law. Why aren’t the cops going in there with guns blazing? Typical christian-fundie, trying to put their personal beliefs ahead of Jesus. Somebody better tell this Davis broad that Jesus wants his cross back.

  49. FLL says:

    I really have a suspicion that Christianist loonies across the country will turn Kim Davis into a cause célèbre and start a GoFundMe campaign to pay for all her fines. Unless she can be jailed for criminal contempt rather just civil contempt, the Christianist GoFundMe circus could continue until Kim Davis is up for reelection as county clerk.

  50. Indigo says:

    I think that’s about 99.9% of this particular carnival.

  51. Indigo says:

    I’m not really trolling for an outflow of sympathy for her, she helped create the mess she’s in. It’s just that I suspect she doesn’t fully get how far off the deep end she wandered.

  52. Midge Baker says:

    No, she’s actually DEFYING God’s authority.

    Romans 13:1-7 states, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

  53. Butch1 says:

    I want to hear it actually come out of “god’s” mouth. Until then, it’s hearsay.

  54. Butch1 says:

    They will give her “special treatment” and she will walk away sans the cuffs and be put into the squad car. Watch and see, unless she requests it for show.

  55. Butch1 says:

    I feel no sympathy for her. She says she holds no grudges against gays, but we all know that’s a lie.

  56. Butch1 says:

    It won’t be by this arrogant and obnoxious woman. She has enjoyed the spotlight too much and she is being used by others to do this. When she ends up in jail for contempt charges and has huge fines against her, everyone else will have scattered and perhaps left this sinking ship not unlike rats. They have no legal legs to stand on anymore. She will be the one to suffer the consequences, which is what she has wanted all along. In her own mind she thinks she is following in the same path as her savior and is savoring every step of the way. The woman is not well in my opinion and has a “religious disease.”

  57. MoonDragon says:

    If I remember my Catechism (Baltimore version) Christ’s followers were to expect and accept persecution and suffer the consequences of oppression. In Ms. Davis’ case, that would be loss of employment; possible fines, prison, or both. You have the right to your beliefs, Ms. Davis, but not to a job you don’t wish to do.

  58. 2karmanot says:

    You bring the matches, I’ll bring the straw, someone else can bring the hot dogs and marshmallows.

  59. 2karmanot says:

    She’s nobody’s fool. She’s been around for nearly thirty years and sees a big fat grifter’s chance to cash in Sara Palin style.

  60. birdbrain53 says:

    The ACLU bystepped the whole martyr in jail by asking for financial sanctions. Perfect.

  61. Indigo says:

    She’s got some mighty cynical attorneys behind her, shoveling cash into their pockets. And when at last, the law takes serious action, all she’ll have is a giant debt and a martyr’s complex no one respects. Poor thing.

  62. Baal says:

    I like it when wingnuts put their insanity on very public display.

  63. I so want to see this bitch hauled away in handcuffs.

  64. Buford2k11 says:

    This is nothing more than grifting in God’s name…Fifteen minutes of Fame, can mean a pile of righteous cash…Let’s all witness her “devoutness” in the near future…

  65. FLL says:

    Kim Davis placed her hand on a Bible and took her oath of office to defend the U.S. Constitution. Doesn’t Jesus say (somewhere in Matthew maybe?) that oaths made at the altar (putting your hand on the Bible) must be kept? Even the prophet of her own purported religion disagrees with her.

  66. nicho says:

    She’s basically full of shit. There is absolutely no biblical justification for what she’s doing. In fact, Paul is quite clear that Christians should obey the civil law. So, she’s violating the law AND scripture.

    But Christians do love martyrdom. She will be a hero in her snake-handling church. There may even be an online fundraiser.

    But as Jesus said, it avails her nothing. She’s already had her reward here.

  67. The_Fixer says:

    If she wants to engage in civil disobedience, then she will have to pay the price. That means she needs to be out of a job ASAP. That’s the way it works.

    What is it about people who appear to be mild-mannered and their bullish insistence that they get their own way all the time? Does she not understand what the nature of her employment is? She’s not a preacher, she’s a county clerk. He current course of action goes against the constitution, and she should know that. Therefore, she is unqualified to do her job.

    She seems to believe that she has an innate right to do this, by virtue of the fact that she and her relatives have been in the county clerk “business” for quite some time. Being a county clerk is not a birthright. Doing the job that she was elected to do is not optional – she does it or she’s out of a job. If she took her job seriously, she would not even consider doing what she is doing.

    What’s that about “pride goeth before the fall”? She’s in for a fall.

  68. gratuitous says:

    Well, Ms. Martyr Complex, when God’s signing your paycheck, then you can invoke that authority all you want. But when it’s the taxpayers – and believe it or not, the marriage license applicants she so flippantly turned away are taxpayers, too – paying your salary, you’re supposed to serve all of the public, not just the ones you think deserve it.

    Your public office isn’t a business, and there isn’t another county clerk just down the street next to the Starbuck’s where the public can transact official government business.

  69. douglas01 says:

    Throw the BITCH in jail and toss the key in a sewer.

  70. keirmeister says:

    Through her own actions and words, Davis, acting as a representative of the State, is committing illegal discrimination against a specific group of citizens. The longer she is allowed to show up to work, the more it means the State effectively condones her behavior – resulting in direct material harm to specific people in the county. That could mean a big legal vulnerability.

  71. Tom O'Bedlam says:

    The problem is her entire family works in this office or something. So even if she is off to jail – which she most likely is, since she has invoked her god thing’s authority in a public office over that of the real (non-imaginary) arbitrator, ie., the Supreme Court – we have to get around her inbred underlings. I say throw them all in the pokie with Cousin Eephis and get a bunch of people in there to do what is required by actual law – not make-believe sky bully nonsense. Then burn her as witch.

  72. Kody says:

    Fines won’t work. Some rich “Christian” will just pay them for her. To JAIL!

  73. Until “God” holds a press conference of His own, Kim Davis’ citing “God’s Authority” isn’t going to cut it. This is sedition, pure and simple. I don’t care if she’s doing it “In the Holy Name of Jeezus,” it’s still sedition. Acting in contempt of the Supreme Court? Rallying people who seem determined to take the law into their own hands? If violence breaks out in Rowan County, it will be her fault.

    Her religious beliefs are not being violated. She is free to attend her Apostolic Church twice a week (if not more), she can lead her Bible Study class, and she can preach hellfire and damnation against Gay people to her heart’s content … but not on the taxpayer’s dime. What she is essentially doing is imposing HER personal beliefs on people who believe differently, and she is doing it at taxpayer expense. That is not what freedom of religion is all about.

  74. MoonDragon says:

    The answer is yes, she can. That could mean being jailed until she complies with the order. That would involve federal action, which can be slow. The official misconduct is a state offense. Since the governor of KY is the one who originally ordered her to do her job, he may be inclined to act.

  75. Glen Thompson says:

    Being north of the border I’m not sure of the legalese. Could she be charged with contempt of court? If so that’s one way to get rid of her. Guess the other way would to be to find her a fifth husband who lives in Alabama.

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