Skim-Milk Marriage Licenses, Kim Davis Edition

The Kim Davis saga continues. After she was released from jail (after being held in contempt for blocking the Rowan County Clerk's office from issuing marriage licenses) she confiscated all of the standard licenses, and replaced them with marriage licenses that no longer mention of Rowan County or the Rowan County Clerk or Deputy Clerks, and which makes it clear that the licenses are being issued in response to a court order. By using this adulterated form, Davis is announcing to couples that the government is letting them get married only under protest, and she is possibly jeopardizing the legal legitimacy of the marriages at issue.

Now lawyers for the plaintiffs are back in court, filing a reply brief in support of their motion to require Davis to issue the standard, non-stigmatizing license to Rowan County couples:

Davis’ alterations to the marriage licenses currently being issued by the Rowan County Clerk’s office amount to a last-ditch attempt to craft an accommodation for herself – one that this Court, the Sixth Circuit, and the Supreme Court all found that she was not entitled to – by engaging in self-help at the expense of Rowan County couples. As Governor Beshear has now recognized, Davis’ actions have created considerable uncertainty regarding the legality of the altered marriage licenses. They impose significant and ongoing harm on Rowan County couples who are legally eligible to marry but now face doubt and fear that a marriage solemnized pursuant to an altered marriage license could be held invalid at some unknown time in the future. And Davis’ actions effectively brand the altered licenses with a stamp of animus against gay people.

We'll see whether the judge lets Davis continue to dodge the Court's orders and interfere with marriage equality.

Greg Lipper (@theglipper) is Senior Litigation Counsel at Americans United.