Politics

A federal judge said Wednesday a “temporary stay” on his order for Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to resume issuing marriage licenses will expire on Aug. 31. Barring intervention from a higher court, the judge’s order means Davis would have to begin issuing licenses by the end of the month.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning ruled last week that Davis had to resume issuing marriage licenses, which she stopped doing after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June.

But Davis immediately requested a stay of that decision while she appealed the case to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. On Monday, Bunning denied Davis’ request but also opted to not enforce his order, confusing attorneys on both sides of the case and creating a de facto waiting period for the higher court to consider Davis’ request.

On Wednesday, the judge said his “temporary stay” would expire at the end of the month. Unless the 6th Circuit says otherwise, Davis would then be required to resume issuing marriage licenses.

Davis, an Apostolic Christian, has said her religious beliefs prevent her from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She is being sued by two same-sex couples and two opposite-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses in her county.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.