KENTUCKY – A US judge has ordered a Kentucky official jailed for contempt of court after she has repeatedly refused to issue marriage licences to gay couples.
Kim Davis has said that her Christian faith should exempt her from signing the licenses.
The US Supreme Court declared gay marriage legal in June.
After interviewing her fellow clerks, the judge said Ms Davis could go free if she allowed her deputies to grant the licences,
but Davis refused.
Ms Davis, an elected official in Rowan County, has said the Supreme Court’s ruling conflicts with her beliefs as a born-again Christian.
“You can’t be separated from something that’s in your heart in your soul,” Ms Davis said. “I promised to love Him with all my heart, mind and soul because I wanted to make heaven my home.”
US District Judge David Bunning said he had “no alternative” but to jail her, because issuing fines would not change her mind.
“Her good faith belief is simply not a viable defence,” said Mr Bunning. “Mrs Davis took an oath. Oaths mean things.”
The judge said religious beliefs do not supersede the court
He added that letting one person’s beliefs supersede the authority of the court would be a dangerous example to set.
Ms Davis’ lawyer had claimed that her deputy clerks could only issues licenses under Davis’ authority, but the judge overruled that objection.
Five deputy clerks told the judge on Thursday they would comply with the court order. A sixth deputy clerk, Ms Davis’ son, Nathan, refused.
The judge decided not to hold Nathan Davis in contempt of court.
Hundreds of protesters lined up outside of the federal courthouse on Thursday, chanting and waving signs both of support and opposition.
Local reporters tweeted photos of the two different camps in close quarters outside of the courthouse.
Hundreds of protesters showed up for Ms Davis’ day in court
Protesters screamed “Love won! Love won!” outside of the courthouse after learning of the decision.