This story has been updated.
MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky county clerk who objects to same-sex marriage will not have to issue marriage licenses while she takes her case to a federal appeals court.
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has refused to issue marriage licences in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in June legalizing same-sex marriage across the country.
Davis, an Apostolic Christian, has argued issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples violates her religious beliefs. She is being sued by two gay couples and two heterosexual couples who were denied licenses to marry in Rowan County.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered Davis last week to issue the licenses despite her objections, ruling that her private religious beliefs did not outweigh her obligations as a public official.
Davis recently asked the judge to stay the judge’s order while she pursues her case before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
On Monday, Bunning denied that request. However, the judge also declined to enforce his order, leaving room for the federal appeals court to potentially decide the issue.
“[I]n recognition of the constitutional issues involved, and realizing that emotions are running high on both sides of the debate, the Court finds it appropriate to temporarily stay this order pending review of Defendant Davis’ Motion to Stay by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals,” Bunning wrote.
Attorneys on both sides disagreed about the implications. Dan Canon, representing the same-sex couples, said Davis remains under the judge’s order. But Mat Staver, who represents Davis and is the founder of Florida-based Liberty Counsel, said the convoluted order essentially grants her request for more time.
Davis hasn’t said how she would react should she lose her appeal.
Read the order: