A unanimous Supreme Court decision has rejected an appeal from Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who made waves in 2015 for refusing to issue same sex marriage licenses.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, while refusing to hear the appeal, wrote an opinion that criticized marriage equality calling it a “cavalier treatment of religion” — saying Davis “may have been one of the first victims” of the decision, “but she will not be the last.”
Davis denied same sex marriage licenses but was jailed in 2015 for five days for her refusals after the Supreme Court decided Obergefell v. Hodges and made same sex marriage legal.
After the ruling, same sex couples sued Davis for refusing to issue their marriage licenses.
In defending herself in court, Davis argued that as a government employee, she was immune from lawsuits involving her official duties. The couples failed to claim any constitutional right to receive a marriage license from any particular official, she said. Her lawyers told the Supreme Court that the case was about “whether the law forces an all-or-nothing choice between same-sex marriage on the one hand and religious liberty on the other.”
But lawyers for the gay couples said the issue was much more narrow — whether government officials have immunity when they act in a way that they know violates the law.