Kimberly Bailey



Kimberly Jean Davis (née Bailey; born September 17, 1965) is the county clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky, who gained international attention in August 2015 when she defied a U.S. federal court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, following the June 26, 2015, U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. Davis reacted to the decision by denying marriage licenses to all couples, saying she was acting "under God's authority". Her defiance led to her jail sentence, while both supporters and detractors hotly debated her stance in the national media. Marriage licenses in Rowan County are now being issued to all citizens as required by law. Davis was born in Jackson, Kentucky. By 1991, Davis was serving as chief deputy clerk of Rowan County, reporting to her mother, the Rowan County clerk. Davis' first three marriages ended in divorce in 1994, 2006, and 2008; she then remarried her second husband in 2009. She became an Apostolic Christian in 2011. A court found her salary to be higher than expected and therefore cut her wages in 2012. Despite complaints of nepotism, Davis was elected county clerk in 2014 and promised to follow the statutes of the office. A few months later, Obergefell v. Hodges was decided and all county clerks were ordered to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Davis refused, citing her religious opposition to same-sex marriage. Couples represented by the American Civil Liberties Union who had been denied marriage licenses from Davis filed and won a lawsuit against her, Miller v. Davis, and she was ordered to comply with the decision of the U.S. District Court and start issuing marriage licenses. Her lawyers tried to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the application to appeal was denied. Davis continued to defy the court order, refusing to issue marriage licenses, and was ultimately jailed for contempt of court. She was released from jail five days later, under the condition that she not interfere with the efforts of her deputy clerks, who had started issuing marriage licenses to all couples. Davis then modified the Kentucky marriage licenses to no longer mention her name. The Attorney General of Kentucky said that because the matter was already being handled by the federal court, there would be no appointment of a special prosecutor to pursue charges of official misconduct against her. Several weeks later, Davis announced she had met with Pope Francis in Washington, D.C.; the Holy See Press Office clarified that the Pope met with many others and that the meeting was not a form of support for her actions. Attorney and author Roberta A. Kaplan described Davis as "the clearest example of someone who wants to use a religious liberty argument to discriminate", yet law professor Eugene Volokh maintained that an employer must try to accommodate religious employees' beliefs, pointing out that Davis wished only to remove her name from the marriage licenses of same-sex couples. Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said that Davis' imprisonment was part of the "criminalization of Christianity", while columnist Jennifer Rubin compared Davis' refusal to follow the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court to Alabama Governor George Wallace's "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door" in 1963. Popular culture has satirized Davis; after the same-sex marriage license controversy, she was parodied in a Funny or Die video parody and on Saturday Night Live.

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