Who is Kentucky clerk Kim Davis?

Kentucky clerk faces judge in marriage debate
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Story highlights

  • Kim Davis is a lifelong resident of Rowan County, Kentucky
  • Davis jailed after defying court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples
  • She became an Apostolic Christian 4½ years ago

(CNN)She stands at the crossroads of a controversy between same-sex marriage and faith.

Kim Davis is the clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky. And she finds herself in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning on Thursday found her in contempt of court for her stand and said Davis will remain behind bars until she complies.
    After she was jailed, Rowan County issued a marriage license to a same-sex couple for the first time Friday.
    But Davis' husband, Joe, told reporters Friday his wife was willing to remain in jail until the state government allows her to keep her name off the licenses.
    "As long as it takes," Joe Davis said. "Hopefully (Gov. Steve) Beshear will have the guts to do his job."

    Her mom had the job before her

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    Davis has only held office as the Rowan Country clerk since January. But don't be fooled by her short tenure. She's not a newbie.
    Her mother was county clerk for 37 years, The New York Times reported. Davis was her deputy for 26 of those years.
    The 49-year-old is a native of Rowan County. She's never lived anywhere else.

    She won 53% of the vote

    When the Democrat ran for county clerk, she won the party primary by 23 votes.
    In the general election, she collected 53% of the vote.

    It's a family affair

    The parallels continue into the next generation.
    Now that Davis is the county clerk, her son, Nathan, is one of her deputies.
    Like mother, like daughter. Like mother, like son.

    She's been married four times

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    Davis' critics zero in on her personal life, wondering how she can take a stand against same-sex marriage when she's been married four times, including twice to the same man.
    They argue it's hard to make a case that you're standing up for the sanctity of marriage after three divorces.
    For Davis, the answer is simple. That was before she became an Apostolic Christian -- a branch of the faith that follows a strict moral code.
    She says she's a different person now.

    She had a religious conversion

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    Davis became a Christian 4½ years ago and attends Solid Rock Apostolic Church in Morehead, Kentucky.
    "I am not perfect. No one is," she said in a statement. "But I am forgiven and I love my Lord and must be obedient to him and to the word of God."
    It's that obedience, she said, that prevents her from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
    "To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God's definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience," Davis said. "It is not a light issue for me. It is a heaven or hell decision."

    She says she never wanted the spotlight

    Now that she's making headlines, Davis said she hasn't been looking for them.
    "I never sought to be in this position, and I would much rather not have been placed in this position," she said. "I have received death threats from people who do not know me."