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SCOTUS: Kentucky clerk must issue same-sex marriage licenses

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KENTUCKY — The Supreme Court on Monday night, August 31st denied an emergency application from a Kentucky clerk who has been refusing to issue marriage licenses because of her religious objections to same-sex marriage.

The clerk, Kim Davis, sought to put a lower court ruling on hold pending appeal, and in a one-page order the Supreme Court refused.

Davis is now faced with a lower court order that her office begin issuing licenses effective Monday.

The order marks the first time the issue of same-sex marriage has come back to the justices since they issued an opinion last June clearing the way for same-sex couples to marry nationwide.

Davis, of the Rowan County Clerk’s office, has refused to issue any marriage licenses since the decision — Obergefell v. Hodges — came down. She is an Apostolic Christian who says that she has a sincere religious objection to same-sex marriage. Other clerks in the state have expressed concern, but Davis is the only one turning away eligible couples.

In Court papers, lawyers for Davis said that her “conscience forbids her from approving a (same-sex marriage) license — because the prescribed form mandates that she authorize the proposed union and issue a license bearing her own name and imprimatur.”

“In her belief,” the lawyers wrote, “(same-sex marriage) is not, in fact, marriage.”

They said issuing a same-sex license would amount to a “searing act of validation” that would “forever echo in her conscience.”