Same-Sex Marriage and a Defiant Kentucky Clerk

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Updated on September 1 at 10:02 a.m. ET

There was a tense standoff this morning between Rowan County clerk Kim Davis and two same-sex couples to whom she denied marriage licenses—in defiance of an order from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Watch what happened:

Judges in lower courts had ruled Davis would have to comply with the law, and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. But she maintained that her faith should exempt her from having to do that. Last night, the Supreme Court denied her request for a stay while she pursues an appeal.

“Nobody should have to go through this to get a marriage license in 2015,” David Moore, one of the men seeking a license, said later. “This is kind of ridiculous.”

The Lexington Herald-Leader adds:

On either side of [Moore], more than 100 protesters — some supporting Davis, others opposing her — shouted at one another from across the entranceway. ...

Davis has refused to issue any marriage licenses in Rowan County since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June. U.S. District Judge David Bunning has ordered her to resume, an order she unsuccessfully appealed to the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and, over the weekend, to the Supreme Court.

The ACLU of Kentucky says it has filed a contempt motion against Davis with Judge Bunning.