Ky. marriage clerk taken into custody

A Kentucky marriage clerk is in the custody of U.S. Marshals after being held in contempt of court for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis was taken into federal custody on Thursday afternoon, according to CBS’s local affiliate.

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U.S. District Judge David Bunning had initially summoned Davis for a court appearance earlier that morning over her office’s actions.

Bunning then held Davis in contempt of court for repeatedly refusing legal orders to issue same-sex marriage certificates, the CBS affiliate said. She now faces potential penalties, including fines and jail time.

The couple that initially sued Davis is seeking financial penalties but not jail time.

Davis has repeatedly refused to issue same-sex couples marriage certificates from her Kentucky office on account of her Christian beliefs.

Her case has attracted national attention, sparking a broad debate over whether government employees should be forced to recognize gay marriage if it violates their religious beliefs.

Republican presidential contenders have split on that question. 

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGraham promises ObamaCare repeal if Trump, Republicans win in 2020 Conservatives buck Trump over worries of 'socialist' drug pricing Rand Paul to 'limit' August activities due to health MORE (Ky.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads What the gun safety debate says about Washington Trump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China MORE (Fla.) have expressed support for Davis.

Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister, said Wednesday that Davis "is showing more courage, more conviction and more of a better understanding of the Constitution than virtually any elected official in America."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamWhite House won't move forward with billions in foreign aid cuts GOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads Cindy McCain says no one in Republican Party carries 'voice of reason' after husband's death MORE (S.C.) and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, meanwhile, have argued the clerk must obey federal law.

"I appreciate her conviction. I support traditional marriage," Graham said. "But she's accepted a job where she has to apply the law to everyone, and that's her choice."

The case is the first major legal dust-up on same-sex marriage since the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in June.

In its 5-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the court ruled that same-sex couples cannot be denied marriage licenses under the 14th Amendment.

Critics decried the ruling, warning it threatens the rights of business owners and faith-based organizations to oppose same-sex marriage.

— This story was last updated at 1:46 p.m.