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Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis, Who Refused to Issue Marriage Licenses to Gays, Seeks to End Case

The Kentucky clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples is seeking to close the book on a contentious case that made her a pariah to progressives and a hero to some religious conservatives.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has asked the 6th U.S. Circuit Court to dismiss her appeal because her state’s new law, which removes clerks’ names from marriage licenses, makes the issue “moot,” according to court papers.

Image: Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis listens to a customer following her office's refusal to issue marriage licenses at the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., on Sept. 1, 2015. Timothy D. Easley / AP

The new law provides “the very religious accommodation Davis sought from the beginning of this litigation,” Davis' lawyers claimed in the court papers.

The ACLU, which was party to the suit against Davis filed by four gay couples who were denied marriage licenses, offered no objections.

“We agree that Kim Davis’s appeals should be dismissed,” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT Project. “Once the new Kentucky law becomes effective, all loving couples seeking to obtain marriage licenses will be able to do so on an equal basis.”

“On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling, we’re pleased that same-sex couples can fully realize legal recognition of their love, including in Rowan County, Kentucky,” added Louisville lawyer Daniel Canon, who represented one of the couples.

FROM SEPT. 9, 2015: Kentucky clerk Kim Davis released from jail, plans to return to work 2:07

Davis became the darling of the religious right last summer when she refused to issue marriage licenses after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.

An Apostolic Christian who has been married four times — twice to the same man — Davis argued that her faith defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. She said that by signing a marriage license for a gay couple she was violating a tenet of her religion.

A U.S. District Court judge found Davis in contempt of court and jailed her for five days. Her cause was championed by then-GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and others.

In April, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed a new law which removed clerks’ names from marriage licenses.

“I am pleased that I can continue to serve my community as the Rowan County Clerk without having to sacrifice my religious convictions and conscience," Davis said in a statement Tuesday.

Davis was elected as a Democrat but switched to the Republican Party after she was jailed. She is up for re-election in 2018.