Kim Davis has finally been released from jail for refusing to violate her religious beliefs in the issuing of gay marriage licenses. The ACLU, who had petitioned for her to be held in contempt of court, released this statement:
ROWAN CLERK RELEASED FROM JAIL, ORDERED NOT TO INTERFERE WITH MARRIAGE LICENSING
U.S. District Judge David Bunning today released Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis from custody of the U.S. Marshals under order that she not interfere with deputy clerks issuing marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples. On September 3, Davis was found in contempt of court for violating an order that required her to uphold her duty as a public official and issue marriage licenses to Rowan County couples immediately.
The following comment may be attributed to William Sharp, legal director of the ACLU of Kentucky, representing plaintiffs in this case:“This case was brought to ensure that all residents of Rowan County, gay and straight, could obtain marriage licenses. That goal has been achieved. The Kentucky Attorney General and counsel for Rowan County have said the marriage licenses are valid. We are relying on those representations, and our clients look forward to proceeding with their plans to marry.”
Accommodations have been made for Kim Davis and her name has been removed from the gay marriage licenses…but that still leaves a nagging question:
As Kentucky.com reported, the marriage licenses now have replaced Ms. Davis’ name with a generic “Rowan County” imprimatur — removing her other objection, that even having her name on the license would violate her religious beliefs.
So, everyone’s happy, right? Ms. Davis is free from jail and all residents of Rowan County are now able to obtain marriage licenses, without violating Ms. Davis’ religious beliefs.
It begs the big question: why wasn’t this accommodation — having other clerks issue licenses without Ms. Davis’ name — made in the first place? Why was Ms. Davis forced to spend even a night in jail for defending her First Amendment right? According to our First Amendment — and Kentucky’s own Religious Freedom Restoration Act — “reasonable accommodation” is required in instances like this.
Read more: Allen B West