A defiant county clerk went to jail Thursday for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, but five of her deputies agreed to issue the licenses themselves, potentially ending the church-state standoff in Rowan County, Kentucky.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning said he had no choice but to jail Kim Davis for contempt after she insisted that her "conscience will not allow" her to follow federal court rulings on gay marriage.
Speaking earlier from the bench, Bunning said it would set up a "slippery slope" to allow an individual's ideas to supersede the courts' authority.
"Her good faith belief is simply not a viable defense," Bunning said. "I myself have genuinely held religious beliefs ... but I took an oath."
Members of the General Assembly and all officers, before they enter upon the execution of the duties of their respective offices, and all members of the bar, before they enter upon the practice of their profession, shall take the following oath or affirmation:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and be faithful and true to the Commonwealth of Kentucky so long as I continue a citizen thereof, and that I will faithfully execute, to the best of my ability, the office of _______ according to law; and I do further solemnly swear (or affirm) that since the adoption of the present Constitution, I, being a citizen of this State, have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this State nor out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge, nor aided or assisted any person thus offending, so help me God."