US & Canada

Kim Davis: Kentucky clerk relents in gay marriage dispute

Surrounded by Rowan County Sheriff"s deputies, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, centre, with her son Nathan Davis standing by her side, makes a statement to the media at the front door of the Rowan County Judicial Center in Morehead, Kentucky, on Monday Image copyright AP
Image caption "I just want to serve my neighbours quietly without violating my conscience," Ms Davis said

A Kentucky clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licences to gay couples has said she will not block the process but her name will not appear on the paperwork.

However, Kim Davis questioned on Monday whether licences without her signature would be valid.

Ms Davis, an elected official, has said that her Christian faith should exempt her from signing the licences.

The US Supreme Court declared gay marriage legal in June.

"I don't want to have this conflict. I don't want to be in the spotlight. And I certainly don't want to be a whipping post," Ms Davis said. "I am no hero. I'm just a person that's been transformed by the grace of God, who wants to work, be with my family. I just want to serve my neighbours quietly without violating my conscience."

Shortly after Ms Davis addressed reporters, a deputy clerk issued a marriage licence to a lesbian couple without incident.

Despite Ms Davis' claims, several Kentucky officials including the governor said the recently issued licences are valid.

Two federal courts and the US Supreme Court have ruled against Ms Davis after she repeatedly refused to issue marriage licences since June.

Ms Davis, a Democrat who serves Rowan County, a rural area in eastern Kentucky, was found in contempt of court on 3 September and jailed.

The following day, several of her deputies began issuing marriage licences to couples.

Federal judge David Bunning released Ms Davis from jail on 8 September so long as she did not interfere with her deputies.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ms Davis' cause has been championed by several Republican candidates for president

After she was released, Ms Davis was greeted by thousands of cheering supporters who gathered outside the Carter County Detention Center.

Ms Davis has become a heroine among conservative Christians who view marriage as only between a man and a woman.

Her case has also become an issue in the Republican presidential campaign with several candidates - including former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Texas Senator Ted Cruz - championing her cause.

Because Ms Davis is an elected official, she cannot be fired. She could be impeached by the Kentucky legislature, but the body is not in session.

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