Kim Davis' Lawyers: No Need to Change Marriage Licenses After Controversy

by Pete Williams and Erik Ortiz /  / Updated 
Image: Kim Davis speaking during an interview on Fox News Channel
Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis speaks during an interview on Fox News Channel's 'The Kelly File' in New York on Sept. 23, 2015. Davis said two days later that she and her family have switched to the Republican Party because the Democrats no longer represented them. BRENDAN MCDERMID / Reuters

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Lawyers for Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis say the marriage licenses issued by her office are binding — and no further action is required by a federal judge to change them.

"Marriage licenses are being issued in Rowan County, which [Kentucky Gov. Steven Beshear] and Kentucky attorney general have approved as valid, which are recognized by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and which are deemed acceptable by the couples who received them," her lawyers said in court filings Tuesday.

After Davis spent five days in jail last month for contempt of court, she returned to work but said she would play no role in issuing the licenses. She did, however, make several changes to the license forms.

That prompted the couples who originally sued her to ask the judge in late September for an order directing her office to revert back to the original forms.

Related: Kentucky Governor: Kim Davis' Statements Show 'Absurdity'

One of her deputy clerks said she deleted all mention of Rowan County, removed her name, and omitted references to deputy clerks. Only a deputy's name is on the form — and not his title — with a place for him to initial rather than to use his signature.

Those changes, the couples told the judge, were inconsistent with state rules for marriage licenses, raising potential questions about their validity.

But Davis' lawyers said Tuesday not to worry.

"The Kentucky governor and Kentucky attorney general both inspected the new licenses and publicly stated that they were valid and will be recognized as valid by the Commonwealth of Kentucky," the lawyers said.

In a flurry of back-and-forth court filings since the firestorm erupted, Davis' team also filed suit against Gov. Beshear and another state official for allegedly violating her religious freedom.

Related: Kim Davis Is Meddling and Altering Marriage Licenses, ACLU Says

Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the gay Kentucky couples, also want Davis' office to be placed under a receivership — essentially allowing another person to oversee the marriage license process.

In a statement Tuesday, Davis' attorney said that since the county is now offering marriage licenses to all couples, there's no reason for Davis to be removed.

"It has never really been about a marriage license — Rowan County has issued the licenses — it is about [the plaintiffs] forcing their will on a Christian woman through contempt of court charges, jail, and monetary sanctions," attorney Mat Staver said.

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