Kentucky clerk still refusing same-sex marriage licenses

Last Updated Sep 2, 2015 4:51 AM EDT

KENTUCKY -- A County Clerk in Kentucky turned away same-sex couples on Tuesday in defiance of last June's Supreme Court decision opening marriage to gays and lesbians. Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis says she's obeying a higher authority.

When David Moore and his partner David Ermold went to the Rowan County Courthouse to get a marriage license for the fourth time they were met by Davis.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, right, talks with David Moore following her office's refusal to issue marriage licenses at the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015.

"I just want you to know that we are not issuing marriage licenses today," Davis told them.

"Under whose authority are you not issuing marriage licenses?" questions Moore.

"Under God's authority," Davis replies. "I'm asking you to leave."

"I'm not leaving," argues Moore. "I'm asking you to do your job. I'm not leaving until I get a license."

"Then you're going to have a long day," said Davis.

And so it went. Davis, elected clerk last November, stood her ground. She has refused to issue any marriage licenses since the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling in June.

Meanwhile, CBS Lexington, Kentucky affiliate WKYT-TV reports Davis has been married four times. The station obtained a copy of her 2009 marriage license, which says it was marriage number four for her. The license was signed by her mother, who was Rowan County clerk at the time, WKYT says.

In a statement about her continued refusal to issue the licenses, Davis explained that she never thought the day would come when she would be asked to violate what she called, "A central teaching of scripture and of Jesus himself regarding marriage."

Davis' statement continues, "It is not alight issue for me. It is a heaven or hell decision."

Matt Staver represents Davis. He says this is not something she singed up for.

"She's being asked to do something that no clerk in Kentucky, up until recently, has been asked to do," he said.

But Ermold and Moore say upholding the law is what Davis was elected to do.

"I pay your salary," Ermold told Davis.

"What I will not tolerate is people who use their beliefs to discriminate against other people and make their lives hell," Ermold added.

Davis' attorney says his client would agree to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, just as long as her signature is not on the document. But she's been ordered to federal court on Thursday and could be held in contempt for further defiance.

  • Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.