MOREHEAD, Kentucky (AP) -- A county clerk in the state of Kentucky has again refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, invoking her religious beliefs and "God's authority" -- this time in defiance of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against her.
Unlike the vast majority of local officials around the U.S., Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has refused to abide by the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to legalize gay marriage across America earlier this summer and stopped issuing all marriage licenses in the days after the landmark decision.
Two gay couples and two straight couples sued her, arguing that she must fulfill her duties as an elected official despite her personal religious faith. A federal judge ordered her to issue the licenses, and an appeals court upheld that decision. Her lawyers with the Liberty Counsel filed a last-ditch appeal to the Supreme Court on Friday, asking that they grant her "asylum for her conscience."
On Tuesday morning, Davis' office denied the licenses to at least two couples. At first, Davis remained in her office with the door closed and blinds drawn. But she emerged a few minutes later, telling the couples and the activists gathered there that her office is continuing to deny the licenses "under God's authority."
Davis asked David Moore and David Ermold, a couple who has been rejected four times by her office, to leave. They refused, surrounded by reporters and cameras.
"We're not leaving until we have a license," Ermold said.
"Then you're going to have a long day," Davis told him.
From the back of the room, Davis' supporters said: "Praise the Lord! ... Stand your ground."
Other activists shouted that Davis is a bigot and told her: "Do your job."
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to intervene in the case, leaving Davis no legal grounds to refuse to grant licenses to gay couples. A district judge could now hold her in contempt, which can carry steep fines or jail time.
Davis has steadfastly refused to issue the licenses, saying her deeply held Christian beliefs don't let her endorse gay marriages.