ASHLAND, Ky. (CBSDC/AP) — A defiant county clerk was sent to jail for contempt Thursday after insisting that her “conscience will not allow” her to follow a federal judge’s orders to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
“God’s moral law conflicts with my job duties,” Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis told U.S. District Judge David Bunning. “You can’t be separated from something that’s in your heart and in your soul.”
The judge said she left him with no alternative but to jail her, since fines alone would not change her mind. A deputy escorted her out of the courtroom, although not in handcuffs, to be turned over to the custody of federal marshals.
“Her good faith belief is simply not a viable defense,” Bunning said, noting that allowing an individual’s beliefs to supersede the court’s authority would set a dangerous precedent.
“I myself have genuinely held religious beliefs,” the judge said, but “I took an oath.”
“Mrs. Davis took an oath,” he added. “Oaths mean things.”
Hundreds of people chanted and screamed, “Love won! Love won!” as word reached the dueling crowds outside.