Lawyers for jailed Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis said on Monday they had asked an appellate court to force Gov. Steve Beshear to let her refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses based on her religious convictions.
The lawyers sought emergency relief from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, asking it to grant Davis an exemption from the "governor's mandate that all county clerks issue marriage licenses," the non-profit legal advocacy group Liberty Counsel, which represents Davis, said in a news release.
"The governor’s refusal to take elementary steps to protect religious liberties has now landed Kim Davis in jail," said Liberty Counsel founder and chairman Mat Staver.
The same injunction request was denied last month by U.S. District Judge David Bunning, who jailed Davis on Thursday.
Charla Bansley, communications director for Liberty Counsel, said Davis could be released from jail immediately if the motion were granted by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ordering Beshear to issue Davis an "accommodation" allowing her to remove her name and title from official marriage certificates issued in Rowan County.
By doing that, Davis would not be sanctioning any same-sex unions and her conscience would be satisfied, they say.
"If there was an accommodation, she would be released [from jail] because she would no longer be in contempt," said Bansley.
The lawyers sought the latest injunction on the fifth day that Davis, 49, was in jail for contempt of court after defying Bunning's orders to issue licenses to same-sex couples because as an Apostolic Christian she opposes gay marriage.
Outside Carter County Detention Center in Grayson, where Davis was being held, about 150 supporters gathered, local media reported. On Tuesday, Republican president hopeful Mike Huckabee was expected to hold a rally in support of Davis outside the jail.
A group of about 30 demonstrators descended on Bunning's neighborhood in a Cincinnati suburb in northern Kentucky to pass out fliers in support of Davis, said Lt. Casey Kilgore of the Fort Thomas Police Department.
"[We're] encouraging all the neighbors to pray for David Bunning to let Kim Davis go," said protest organizer Cal Zastrow.