MOREHEAD, Ky. — Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis returned to work on Monday after being jailed for six days for refusing to comply with a court order that she issue marriage licenses to homosexuals, noting that while any licenses provided by her deputy clerks are unauthorized and perhaps illegal, she will not stop them from being issued.
“I am here before you this morning as I return to work to say that I love my Lord Jesus, I love all people and I love my job,” she began. “I want to continue to serve all three as I have tried to do until now.”
Davis explained that she has been asking Kentucky officials for an accommodation for the past nine months.
“Since January of this year, I have asked Gov. Beshear, the Kentucky legislature–and more recently, Judge Bunning, for one simple thing: an accommodation for my religious beliefs regarding marriage that would allow me to serve the citizens of Rowan County without violating my conscience,” she said.
“My name or official title on the marriage certificate points to the same person—me, Kim Davis. To affix my name or authoritative title on a certificate that authorizes marriage that conflicts with God’s definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman violates my deeply held religious convictions and conscience,” Davis continued. “For me, this would be an act of disobedience to my God.”
She outlined that all she has been requesting is for her name to be removed from the licenses.
“While there are many accommodations available, the very simple accommodation I have proposed is to remove my name and my title as the clerk of Rowan County completely off the marriage license,” Davis stated. “These licenses could be issued under another authority including perhaps the Commonwealth of Kentucky or Gov. Beshear himself.”
She said she would be willing to record the licenses as long as her name is not on them.
“If these needed to be recorded in the clerk’s office, like a vehicle registration, a lien or a judgment, that could be done. That doesn’t raise a conflict of conscience because we as clerks are not the authorizer of the license,” Davis explained.
“Because my pleas for a modest accommodation have been refused or not acted upon, I have been required to do that which my conscience forbids. As a result, I have spent six days in jail because I could not abandon my faith,” she said.
Davis stated that although her deputy clerks are issuing the licenses in her stead, her name is still on the documents, and so the effect is the same. And while she returns to work today, she remains torn over the matter as accommodations have not yet been made.
“I stand before you this morning with the seemingly impossible choice that I do not wish on any of my fellow Americans: my conscience or my freedom,” Davis said, then being moved to tears. “My conscience or my ability to serve the people that I love. Obey God, or a directive that forces me to disobey God, even when there are reasonable accommodations available.”
“I don’t want to have this conflict. I don’t want to be in the spotlight. And I certainly don’t want to be a whipping post,” she continued. “I am no hero. I’m just a person that’s been transformed by the grace of God, who wants to work, be with my family. I just want to serve my neighbors quietly without violating my conscience.”
Davis stressed that any licenses issued by her deputy clerks are unauthorized as she has not granted them permission to do so, but said that she would not stop those under her authority from issuing the documents.
“Effective immediately, and until an accommodation is provided by those with the authority to provide it, any marriage license issued by my office will not be issued or authorized by me,” she said. “I love my deputy clerks, and I hate that they have been caught in the middle of any of this. If any of them feel that they must issue an authorized license to avoid being thrown in jail, I understand their tough choice, and I will take no action against them.”