VOA News

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside a federal courthouse in Kentucky where a local county clerk faces charges for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis defied last month’s court order to resume issuing marriage licenses to all eligible couples, straight or gay, a practice she stopped after the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic ruling in June that legalized same-sex marriages across the nation.

Davis says issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples would violate her religious beliefs. The judge issued the order after four couples — two same-sex couples and two opposite-sex couples — filed a lawsuit against her.

An appeals court upheld the lower court judge’s original ruling, and Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan rejected Davis’s request to temporarily block the lower judge’s order on Monday.

Davis defied the court’s rulings this week, however, telling same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses that she was acting “under God’s authority.”

Davis was to appear before a Federal court judge Thursday along with several of her employees. The couples who filed the original lawsuit are asking the judge to impose monetary fines against her.

Attorneys have filed a request with the same lower court judge asking him to delay his original order because Davis has a pending appeal on a related matter in the case.

NBC News reports two other county clerks in Kentucky have also refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.