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Appeals Court Rejects Kentucky Clerk's Attempt To Stop Same-Sex Marriages

Rowan County Clerk Kimberly Davis had asked for a trial court ruling to be put on hold while she appeals her "no marriage licenses" policy. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals denied her request on Wednesday.

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Timothy D. Easley / AP

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, right, listens as her attorney Roger Gannam addresses the media on the steps of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky in Covington, Ky., Monday, July 20, 2015.

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled that a Kentucky clerk arguing that she cannot be forced to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples has "little or no likelihood" to succeed in her lawsuit.

Rowan County Clerk Kimberly Davis, who was sued by same-sex couples denied marriage licenses under her 'no marriage licenses' policy, will still be able to present her full appeal to the 6th Circuit. However, she will now be under an order in the meantime to stop applying her policy to "future marriage license requests submitted by Plaintiffs" in the case.

Davis argues that she has a religious objection to her name appearing on the marriage licenses of same-sex couples and, as such, has begun a "no marriage licenses" policy.

After losing at the trial court, the judge denied Davis's request for a stay of his ruling during her appeal to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals — but that judge, Judge David Bunning, did give Davis a brief period in which to seek a stay from the 6th Circuit.

The appeals court denied that request on Wednesday, holding, "In light of the binding holding of Obergefell, it cannot be defensibly argued that the holder of the Rowan County Clerk's office, apart from who personally occupies that office, may decline to act in conformity with the United States Constitution as interpreted by a dispositive holding of the United States Supreme Court. There is thus little or no likelihood that the Clerk in her official capacity will prevail on appeal."

Read the order:

Chris Geidner is a Supreme Court correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.

Contact Chris Geidner at

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