Upon announcing her release, U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning ordered, “Defendant Davis shall be released from the custody of the U.S. Marshal forthwith. Defendant Davis shall not interfere in any way, directly or indirectly, with the efforts of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.”
Five of the six deputy clerks in Davis’ office agreed to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and have been doing so, and Bunning released her with the understanding that the office would continue to run accordingly. He also made clear that should she interfere with her clerks’ efforts, he would consider “appropriate sanctions.” Additionally, Bunning ordered the lawyers of the complying clerks to file a status report with the court regarding their compliance every two weeks.
Kim Davis was held in contempt on September 3 following a hearing over her refusal to comply with an August 12 order that she stop refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She claimed she could not do so because of her religious opposition to having her name appear on those marriage licenses. "It is not a light issue for me. It is a heaven or hell decision," Davis said in a statement, citing her religion. And according to her attorney, Mat Staver, she doesn't want her name and title affixed to a same-sex marriage license "that goes down in the annals of Kentucky history."
When asked at a news conference what Davis would do when she returned to work, Staver said, “Kim Davis cannot, will not violate her conscience.”
A crowd gathered outside the Carter County Detention Center where Davis was being held, and applauded enthusiastically upon her release. The crowd played Christian rock and people held crosses, American flags, a flag that read “Liberty” and a “Mike Huckabee for President” sign. Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz, two Republican presidential hopefuls, have staunchly defended Davis.
In regards to the ruling, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear said, “I don’t see that the religious freedom law has been trampled on. What you have here was a public official who voluntarily ran for election to that office who is being paid $80,000 in taxpayers’ money, and the statute set out the duties of that office. But then she decided she could pick out the duties she would perform — and not perform some of the others.”
Ms. Davis – who so staunchly defends the sanctity of marriage – has been married four times.
Here is a video of Davis refusing to issue a license to same-sex couples: