Kim Davis' lawyers file new appeal over same-sex marriage license order

Kim Davis: I'm just a normal person
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    Kim Davis: I'm just a normal person


Kim Davis: I'm just a normal person 01:26

Story highlights

  • Kim Davis is a Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples
  • She spent 6 days in jail, then was released under the condition that her deputies could issue licenses for her
  • U.S. courts have consistently ruled against Davis, who has become an icon among those championing religious freedom

(CNN)Lawyers for Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who spent six days in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, have asked a federal appeals court to reverse rulings they say trampled her religious rights.

The new appeal seeks to reverse four rulings by U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning, decisions that Davis' attorneys called "a rush to judgment that promoted expediency over due process."
Specifically, Davis' legal team wants the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn Bunning's original injunction that she issue same-sex marriage licenses and his order holding her in contempt for refusing to do so.
    Among other claims, the appeal says that Davis' decision to deny marriage licenses did not pose a "substantial burden" to couples because they could have gotten licenses elsewhere in Kentucky. Her legal team also states the court didn't properly gauge whether or not having Davis issue such licenses might cause her "irreparable harm."
    The appeal also accused the judge of making a mistake by sending "a prisoner of ... conscience" to jail, claiming the contempt order violated Davis' rights under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
    The Rowan County clerk refused to give licenses to same-sex couples despite the Supreme Court's decision in June that legalized same-sex marriage across the country. She claims that doing so would violate her Christian convictions against same-sex marriage.
    She has consistently lost in her efforts in U.S. courts, including repeatedly before the 6th Circuit.
    While Davis is lampooned by critics calling her a hypocrite who doesn't respect U.S. law, many supporters praise her for standing up to the courts and the powers-that-be.
    "Kim Davis wasn't looking for this fight," said Tony Perkins, head of the conservative Family Research Council, which gave the 49-year-old county clerk its Cost of Discipleship Award earlier this year. "But she is not running from it, either."
    Clerk: Davis may have invalidated marriage license forms
    Clerk: Davis may have invalidated marriage license forms


      Clerk: Davis may have invalidated marriage license forms


    Clerk: Davis may have invalidated marriage license forms 01:20
    Davis spent time in jail after refusing to issue marriage licenses bearing her name to same-sex couples in Rowan County and for refusing to allow deputy clerks in her office to issue such licenses.
    Davis was released September 8 under the condition that she would not interfere with her deputies issuing marriage license to all legally eligible couples. That would involve, as Bunning understood it, issuing licenses that had been "altered so that 'Rowan County' rather than 'Kim Davis' appears on the line reserved for the name of the county clerk."
    But one deputy clerk later expressed concern that the licenses being issued were possibly invalid. The altered licenses didn't bear Davis' name, but they also included no county name or reference to a clerk or deputy clerk.
    "[Deputy clerk Brian Mason] is trying to follow the court's mandate as well as his superior [Davis] ordering him to issue only these changed forms," said Mason's lawyer Richard Hughes. "... It also appears to this counsel those changes were made in some attempt to circumvent the court's orders and may have raised to the level of interference against court's orders."