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Gay couple's suit against Kentucky clerk can proceed, court says

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- A federal appeals court says a gay couple's lawsuit seeking damages from a Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue them a marriage license can proceed.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis refused to issue a marriage license to David Ermold and David Moore in 2015 because she said it violated her religious beliefs. She stopped issuing all marriage licenses in June, the day after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

Ermold and Moore sued, along with several other couples. Davis lost, and spent five days in jail on a contempt charge after defying several court orders.

The move to release Davis came down after dozens of her supporters gathered on the jailhouse lawn for what they called a rally for religious freedom.

Lawyers for a Kentucky county clerk who was j... 14:11

U.S. District Judge David Bunning lifted the contempt order against her, saying he was satisfied that deputies were fulfilling their obligation to grant licenses to same-sex couples in her absence. Bunning, however, warned Davis that if she interfered she would be in violation of the court order and would face sanctions.

The state legislature ultimately passed a law that removed county clerks' names from licenses. A district judge ruled this satisfied Ermold and Moore's lawsuit and dismissed the case. But they appealed, saying they wanted Davis to pay damages.

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday the case could continue.

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