An attorney for a Kentucky clerk who has repeatedly skirted a judge’s orders and refused to grant gay marriage licenses said that he is “stunned” by the justice’s decision on Thursday afternoon to have his client arrested.
“This wasn’t even what was part of the original request from the plaintiffs in this case,” attorney Mat Staver told TheBlaze. “The judge went way beyond.”
Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, a conservative legal firm, said that he believes U.S. District Judge David Bunning is treating Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis like “a criminal” after Bunning ordered that she be put behind bars until she complies.
“Kim Davis might be jailed for her conscience, but her conscience is free,” he said.
Staver, who was not in the courtroom for Davis’ contempt hearing, said that he is surprised by Bunning’s decision, and that his client is a strong woman who has “faith in her Lord.”
The attorney also had a message about the impact that he believes her arrest will have on the overarching debate over rights of religious conscience.
“This judge has just ignited a national debate and escalated it to a new level,” Staver said.
Bunning can’t hold Davis indefinitely, but Staver said that he can detain her for an undefined period of time before he brings her back before the court to ask if she has changed her mind about complying with his order to grant same-sex licenses.
The lawyer said that he is making plans to meet with Davis to decide next-steps in the case.
“There’s no bail,” Staver said. “He’s just putting her behind bars and treating her as a criminal.”
Read more about the ruling here.