LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky clerk Kim Davis has asked a federal appeals court to scrap a series of unfavorable rulings issued by the district judge who sent her to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
In a 126-page filing with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late Monday, Davis' attorneys called U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning's order that Davis license same-sex marriage a "rush to judgment" that trampled the clerk's religious liberty.
Davis, the clerk of rural Rowan County, spent five nights in jail in September for defying that order, igniting a fierce debate about the collision of religious freedom and public service.
Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage in June. The American Civil Liberties Union sued her on behalf of four couples, and Bunning ordered her to issue the licenses. When she continued to refuse, Bunning held her in contempt and sent her to jail.
Jonathan Christman, Davis' lawyer with the Liberty Counsel, asked the appeals court to reverse four of the lower court's rulings, including the order that Davis issue licenses and the decision to hold her in contempt.
"By imprisoning Davis and threatening to hold her hostage indefinitely as a prisoner of her conscience, the district court imposed direct pressure and substantial burden on Davis, forcing her to choose between her religious beliefs and forfeiting her essential personal freedom on one hand, or abandoning those beliefs to keep her freedom on the other hand," Christman wrote.