Why the heck does that Kentucky clerk who won’t marry gays still have her job?

Image: AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley
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Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis is defying the US Supreme Court by refusing to issue marriage licenses, specifically because she would have to license same-sex couples. Why hasn’t she been fired?

Because she’s an elected official.

Unlike many other government employees, the only way to remove Davis from her job is to have her impeached or otherwise removed by the state of Kentucky, according to Rowan County attorney Cecil Watkins.

“No authority exists for her removal or suspension from the office by Rowan County government,” Watkins told the Morehead News. “Kentucky state government is the only entity that can move to have Kim Davis removed as Rowan county clerk.”

USA Today reported that the Kentucky state legislature is not currently in session, and that many lawmakers support Davis’ stance.

Watkins has, however, filed official misconduct charges against Davis with the state attorney general’s office, which could result in a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of $500. The American Civil Liberties Union has also asked a federal judge to hold Davis in contempt, which could also result in fines and jail.

Davis, who says she is denying marriage licenses to gay couples “under God’s authority,” has served as Rowan’s county clerk since November. She succeeded her mother, Jean Bailey, who held the position for 37 years.

“I promise to each and every one that I will be the very best working clerk that I can be,” Davis said upon taking office, “and will be a good steward of their tax dollars and follow the statutes of this office to the letter.”