Metro Weekly

Kim Davis’ deputy raises concerns over marriage license validity

Deputy's lawyer says changes to the marriage license form made by Kim Davis may flout court's order

Kim Davis' booking photo (Photo: Carter County Detention Center).

Kim Davis’ booking photo (Photo: Carter County Detention Center).

The saga of Kim Davis’ refusal to grant same-sex marriage licenses took yet another turn this weekend after one of her deputies questioned the validity of marriage licenses he’s been granting to qualified couples.

According to NBC News, a lawyer for Rowan County Deputy Clerk Brian Mason told the court, which had previously ordered Davis not to interfere with the issuance of licenses, that Davis had made substantial changes to marriage licenses by removing her name from the licenses, as well as her title, any mention of Rowan County, and any references to deputy clerks. Only Mason’s name appears on the form, not his title, and the form only has a place for Mason’s initials, not his signature. 

“Those changes were made in some attempt to circumvent the court’s order and may have raised to the level of interference against the court’s orders,” Richard Hughes, Mason’s lawyer, wrote in a document filed with the court.

Because Kentucky law specifies rules for the form that county clerks use to issue marriage licenses, Davis’ imposed changes could call into question the validity of any licenses granted using this new form. So far, the state has not questioned their validity.

After serving five days in jail for contempt after disobeying a court order by U.S. District Judge David Bunning earlier this month, Davis was released and ordered not to interfere with the issuance of licenses. In a press conference held outside the Rowan County courthouse on the day she returned to work last Monday, Davis said she would not stop her deputies from issuing licenses but insisted that the licenses are void without her approval.

“Any unauthorized license that they issue will not have my name, my title or my authority on it,” Davis said. “Instead, the license will state that they are issued pursuant to a federal court order.”

Davis’ lawyer, Mat Staver, of the conservative legal firm Liberty Counsel, disputed Mason’s contention that Davis was again defying Judge Bunning’s orders by changing the form.

“Kim Davis said Monday that her that her name and title would not appear on the forms and later that same day the Governor said the forms were valid,” Staver told NBC News. “And Judge Bunning’s order releasing Kim Davis said a form altered by Brian the day after the contempt hearing while Kim was in jail was valid. So there is no new development.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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