Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was thrown in jail earlier this month for refusing to issue marriage licenses, is back on the job.
Davis returned to work on Monday for the first time since she was held in contempt and incarcerated for five days after she refused to issue marriage licenses in an effort to protest the legalization of same-sex marriage. But, while Davis says she'll no longer interfere with her deputy clerks handing out marriage licenses, she will refuse to sign them - potentially rendering them invalid, The Associated Press reports. Davis has consistently cited her Christian beliefs as the reason she can not issue licenses.
"I'm here before you this morning with a seemingly impossible choice that I do not wish upon any of my fellow Americans: my conscience or my freedom," Davis said in a prepared statement outside the courthouse, according to the AP. "I don't want to be in the spotlight. I am no hero. I'm just a person that's been transformed by the grace of God, who wants to work, be with my family. I just want to serve my neighbors quietly without violating my conscience."
During the time Davis was in jail, her deputy clerks issued at least seven marriage licenses to same-sex couples, editing the forms to remove Davis' name from them, the AP reports. State officials have said those licenses are valid, which Davis and her lawyers dispute. On Monday, at least one same-sex couple showed up at Davis' office seeking a marriage license, according to the AP.
"I love my deputy clerks and I hate that they have been caught in the middle of any of this," Davis said. "If any of them feel that they must issue an authorized license to avoid being thrown in jail, I understand their tough choice and I will take no action against them."
Under state law, Davis will get paid for the days she spent in jail and the week she stayed at home after her release, because elected officials in Kentucky get paid whether they work or not and do not have vacation or sick time, according to the AP. Davis' annual salary is $80,000.