A Kentucky clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses has filed a federal appeal against the contempt of court order, stating that her right to due process has been violated.
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states in June. She was then sued by two gay couples and two straight couples.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered Davis to issue marriage licenses and she continued to refuse, even after the Supreme Court ruled against her emergency order on Aug. 31, when she cited that the order violated her religious beliefs.
Bunning ruled that Davis was in contempt of court for defying his order, and he sent her to jail on Thursday, noting that she could be released if she chose to begin issuing marriage licenses.
“The court cannot condone the willful disobedience of its lawfully issued order,” Bunning said. “If you give people the opportunity to choose which orders they follow, that’s what potentially causes problems.”
The three-page federal appeal, which was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, stated that due to the fact that Davis had no previous knowledge that she would be jailed, as the plaintiffs in the case were only seeking a fine, Judge Bunning violated her right to due process.
Mathew Staver, the founder of the Liberty Counsel and one of Davis’ attorneys, called the case “a charade,” and said Bunning appeared to have a “previous intention to incarcerate” Davis, even before the contempt of court motion was heard.
“Ms. Davis had no notice of it. The plaintiffs had no notice of it,” Staver said. “Without proper notice or proper due process, he decided to incarcerate her.”