Judge orders defiant gay marriage clerk to jail

ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) --  Five of the six deputy clerks in a Kentucky county say they will issue marriage licenses to gay couples, despite their boss' refusal to do so.

The lone holdout among the deputy clerk's is the clerk's son, Nathan. His mother was jailed earlier Thursday when she refused to follow U.S. District Judge David Bunning's order to hand out marriage licenses.

Attorneys for jailed Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis have proposed allowing her out of custody if she agrees to not interfere with marriage licenses for gay couples.

The judge has agreed to the proposal and is now bringing Kim Davis back to the courtroom to see if she will agree.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning told Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis she would be jailed until she complied with his order to issue the licenses. Davis said "thank you" before she was led out of the courtroom by a U.S. marshal. She was not in handcuffs.

Davis has refused to issue marriages licenses for two months since the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. She argues that her Christian faith should exempt her from signing the licenses.

As hundreds of protesters gathered at the courthouse, there was no sign of the Kentucky clerk who was summoned to appear before a federal judge because she refuses to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

It's possible that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis used a gated entrance in the rear to enter the courthouse. She was ordered to appear before U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning at 11 a.m., but by that time, she had not entered through the front, where the crowds had gathered.

Davis faces the possibility of being held in contempt and could face hefty fines or even jail time.

A small plane flew over the courthouse, carrying a banner that said: "Stand Firm Kim." On the courthouse sidewalk, gay marriage supporters shouted "love is not a sin" while at least three preachers with bullhorns called them sinners.

Hundreds of protesters have filled the street in front of the federal courthouse in Ashland as they wait for a hearing to start on the gay marriage case in Kentucky.

Davis stopped issuing licenses to all couples in June after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. Despite rulings against her, she's turned away couples again and again, citing her Christian beliefs and "God's authority."

The couples who originally sued in the case have asked Bunning to punish Davis with fines but not jail time.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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