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Same-sex couple to seek marriage license Monday, 'Oath Keepers' vow to protect Kim Davis - The Trail Blazer: Life & Arts

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Same-sex couple to seek marriage license Monday, 'Oath Keepers' vow to protect Kim Davis

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Posted: Friday, September 11, 2015 3:47 pm

A civilian militia armed with assault rifles will have “boots on the ground” in Rowan County on Monday when County Clerk Kim Davis returns to work and a same-sex couple requests a marriage license.

The Oath Keepers are a band of “current and formerly serving military, police and first responders,” per the group’s website. Oath Keepers founder, Stewart Rhodes, said U.S. District Judge David L. Bunning “grossly overstepped his bounds and violated Mrs. Davis’ due process rights” in a statement posted by the group.

Rhodes said Oath Keepers has had a presence in Rowan County since last week. On Aug. 22, an Oath Keepers member stood with an AR-15 strapped to his body and rallied with 4,000 supporters of Davis and religious freedom at the state Capitol.

On Sept. 3, Davis was found in contempt of court and transported to the Carter County Detention Center. Bunning demanded the clerk's office issue marriage licenses immediately. Five of the six Rowan County deputy clerks agreed to follow the order.

Deputy Clerk Brian Mason has issued the majority of marriage licenses since Davis was jailed. On Tuesday, Bunning ordered the conditional release of Davis, citing the resumed issuance of marriage licenses by the clerk’s office. If Davis impedes the license acquisition process, she will face further penalties, according to Bunning.

Mat Staver of Liberty Councel represents Davis and said his client will return to work on Monday but “cannot and will not violate her conscience.”  Mason said he wouldn’t defy Bunning’s order, even if Davis tries to stop him.

If Davis does interfere and is found in contempt of court by Bunning again, the Oath Keepers said they would intervene.

“No one man should have that kind of power in his hands alone to decide guilt and impose a sentence of indefinite detention,” said Rhodes. “We will protect her and prevent it from happening again.”

Nashia Fife, president of the Rowan County Rights Coalition, said Carmen Wampler-Collins and Shannon Wampler-Collins will pursue a marriage license on Monday morning. The couple asked for support from the coalition, which has rallied in the Rowan County Courthouse lawn since mid-summer.

“We hope we will be able to go in and Brian [Mason] will sign the license,” she said.

Fife also said the coalition is aware of the Oath Keepers’ presence and it will not engage in any type of violence with the “anti-government extremists.” She believes other elected officials in Morehead and Rowan County need to “be more vocal,” now that the Oath Keepers are involved in the controversy surrounding Davis.

Rowan County Judge-Executive Walter "Doc" Blevins said he thinks "there will be some increase in security" at the clerk's office Monday.

"Any time you have that many cameras, people want to come in and be a part of the scenery," said Blevins. "I'd like to see this thing be over. I hope she'll just let the clerks continue and it'll be over with and people can go home."

Blevins said he thinks attorneys representing Davis "want more donations and money" for their cause. "She's paying the price."

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