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Supreme Court Turns Away Anti-Gay Kentucky Clerk With A Brief, Dismissive Order

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis greeting supporters outside the federal courthouse in July. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/TIMOTHY D. EASLEY
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis greeting supporters outside the federal courthouse in July. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/TIMOTHY D. EASLEY

Kim Davis, an anti-gay clerk in Kentucky who refused to issue marriage licenses in order to avoid having to issue them to same-sex couples, will receive no quarter from the Supreme Court of the United States.

Shortly after a similar request was denied by a lower federal court, Davis asked the justices for a temporary stay that would effectively permit her to continue to deny licenses to same-sex couples while she pursues an appeal seeking a more permanent order. She claims that she is entitled to deny same-sex couples a constitutional right that the Supreme Court recognized in June because she objects to their marriages on religious grounds.

Monday evening, the Supreme Court denied this request for a stay in a single sentence order. The Court simply announced that “[t]he application for stay presented to Justice Kagan and by her referred to the Court is denied.” There were no published dissents nor did any justice explain their reasons for denying the stay.

Such an order does not necessarily indicate how the justices will rule if they are someday called upon to resolve the merits of Davis’s case. Nevertheless, there are other signs that the Court did not take this particular case very seriously. As SCOTUSBlog notes, “[t]he Justices turned her down without even asking for a response from the same-sex couples who had sued her, or from state officials in Kentucky whom Davis has sued over the issue.”

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In other words, a majority of the court found her request to be sufficiently unworthy that they did not even need to request briefing from the parties on the other side of the case in order to determine that the request should be denied.

Update:

The AP reports that Davis denied a marriage license to a same-sex couple Tuesday morning, despite the Supreme Court’s decision.