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Rowan deputy clerk won't defy court order, will keep issuing licenses - The Trail Blazer: Life & Arts

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Rowan deputy clerk won't defy court order, will keep issuing licenses

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Posted: Wednesday, September 9, 2015 12:50 pm

A same-sex couple from San Francisco recorded their marriage license at the Rowan County Clerk’s office Wednesday morning, one day after a federal judge lifted his contempt order against Kim Davis for refusing to issue such licenses.

Meanwhile one of Davis’ deputy clerks, Brian Mason, said he will continue to issue licenses even if Davis instructs him to not do so.

“Because of the federal court order,” Mason said when asked why he might buck his boss when she returns to work.

Davis is one of three Kentucky county clerks who have refused to issue licenses in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision legalizing gay marriage. The ACLU of Kentucky, on behalf of two gay and two straight couples, sued Davis after she was ordered by federal judge David Bunning to issue the licenses.

When she refused, Bunning put her in jail, but he lifted the order Tuesday after receiving written confirmation from ACLU attorneys that licenses are being issued. When Bunning first found Davis in contempt, he received assurances from all but one of Davis’ deputies that they would issue marriage licenses. The sole exception was Davis’ son, Nathan, who works in the office.

Kim Davis Released
Kim Davis wept as she expressed her gratitude to the thousands of supporters on Tuesday. Tanner Blevins

However, Bunning ‘s order freeing Davis Tuesday instructs her not to interfere with the deputy clerks who are issuing the licenses. Her attorney suggested on Tuesday that Davis is unlikely to agree to that when she returns to work, probably on Friday or Monday.

Mason patiently answered a dozen reporters’ questions Wednesday when the clerk’s office opened for business, displaying the license he and five other deputy clerks have used since they assured Bunning they would comply with his order.

Those revised licenses do not include Davis’ name, instead indicating the license is authorized by “the office of the Rowan County Clerk,” where it once indicated “the office of Kim Davis, Rowan County Clerk.”

Davis’ attorney, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, a legal arm of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, has said the licenses are invalid, but legal experts, Bunning, the governor and the Rowan County Attorney have all said they are legal and binding.

“It was an office decision,” Mason said when asked who authorized the change. But he said he and the other deputy clerks have not spoken with Davis.

“We haven’t had any contact with her at all,” Mason said, either before or since she was released from jail on Tuesday.

As reporters walked away at the end of the interview with Mason they encountered a male couple coming to record their marriage license.

Mark Schraber and Allen Corona said they have been together for seven years and came from their home in San Francisco to record their marriage that was performed Tuesday in Morehead.

“We came down to learn about Morehead and see if it’s different than it has been portrayed,” said Schraber. “Morehead is lovely and the people here are fantastic.”

But Schraber conceded he “works(s) for Jezebel.com,” the online feminist and celebrity blog — “and also because I wanted to get married.”

Schraber apparently attended the pro-Davis rally in Carter County on Tuesday where thousands gathered for a rally headlined by Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee where Schraber said, “There were some awful, terrible people.”

Mason said the Rowan County Clerk’s office has issued 11 marriage licenses since Friday, including Schraber’s and Corona’s on Wednesday. Of those seven have been to same-sex couples.

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.