Womick says jailed KY clerk broke no law

Note: A federal judge order a Kentucky clerk to jail Thursday for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. State Rep. Rick Womick, R-Rockdale, who has been urging Tennessee court clerks to do the same, issued the news release below on the same day. An AP story on the Kentucky situation is below it.

News release from Rep. Rick Womick
NASHVILLE – Representative Rick Womick stands along side Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis and Governor Mike Huckabee in asking the questions, “Under what law, federal or state, are our county clerks issuing homosexual couples marriage licenses? What federal law would Tennessee county clerks be violating if they did not issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples? Under what federal law would they be prosecuted and held in contempt for violating if they did not issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples?”

The answer, which has eluded our Governor and our State Attorney General, is simple; there is not one!

Once again, I call on all Tennessee County Clerks to uphold the only written law regarding same sex marriage, that being Tennessee Code Annotated, and the Tennessee State Constitution. To immediately stop issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples; anything less is a violation of their oath of office.

Additionally, I call on Governor Haslam and Attorney General Slatery to defend and uphold the actions of all Tennessee County Clerks who do not issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples. I call on both of them as well to uphold their oath to the Tennessee State Constitution and to recognize that marriage is only between one man and one woman, since there is no law, federal or state, purporting otherwise.

Note: The emailed Womick news release includes a link to an article on GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee making similar statements, HERE.

Here’s the top of an AP story:
ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) — A federal judge ordered a defiant county clerk to jail Thursday for refusing court orders to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, but five of her deputy clerks later agreed to follow the law, setting up possible resolution.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning said he had no choice but to jail Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis for contempt after she insisted that her “conscience will not allow” her to follow federal court rulings on gay marriage.

“God’s moral law conflicts with my job duties,” Davis told the judge before a federal marshal escorted her out. “You can’t be separated from something that’s in your heart and in your soul.”

The judge then sought a resolution that would keep Davis out of jail after all. He told her six deputies that they are free to follow the law, overruling an objection from her lawyer, who argued that they can’t act against the clerk’s authority. All but the clerk’s son, Nathan Davis, later promised to comply.

The judge said that neither Nathan Davis nor his mother would have to be jailed as long as the others issue licenses to both gay and heterosexual couples. He then ordered that Kim Davis be returned to his courtroom, and said she would go free as long as she agrees not to interfere.

“Her good faith belief is simply not a viable defense,” Bunning said, noting that allowing an individual’s beliefs to supersede the court’s authority would set a dangerous precedent.

“I myself have genuinely held religious beliefs,” the judge said, but “I took an oath.”

“Mrs. Davis took an oath,” he added. “Oaths mean things.”

Hundreds of people chanted and screamed, “Love won! Love won!” as word reached the dueling crowds outside.

Davis is being represented by the Liberty Counsel, an organization that advocates in court for religious freedoms. Before she was led away, Davis explained that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June that legalized gay marriage nationwide conflicts with the vows she made when she became a born-again Christian.

“I promised to love Him with all my heart, mind and soul because I wanted to make heaven my home,” Davis said, telling the judge how she became a Christian.

April Miller, who has been denied a marriage license four times by Davis or her deputies, testified that she voted for Kim Davis and has no desire to change the clerk’s personal beliefs, but wants to be treated equally in the community where she lives. One of the deputy clerks told her to apply in a different county, but “that’s kind of like saying we don’t want gays or lesbians here. We don’t think you are valuable,” she said.

The judge later questioned each of the deputy clerks, and produced promises of compliance from five of them.

“I don’t really want to, but I will comply with the law,” said one, Melissa Thompson. “I’m a preacher’s daughter and this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life,” she added. “I don’t hate anybody … None of us do.”