Rarely does a county clerk became the center of a national media firestorm. But Kim Davis, the clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, has become trapped in the eye of the national media hurricane that has surrounded her decision to prohibit her office from issuing all marriage licenses due to her Christian objection to same-sex marriage.
After spending six days locked up for being in contempt of court for continuing to refuse to issue marriage licenses, Davis was released Tuesday afternoon as some of her deputy clerks had begun issuing marriage licenses. Now that Davis is back at the helm of her clerk's office, it is unclear if she will continue to violate a federal court order by once again instructing her office to refrain from issuing licenses that have her name and title on them.
Here are five surprising facts about Davis:
Clerking Is the Family Business
Davis' mother, Jeanne Bailey, served over 37 years as Rowan County clerk before she decided to retire last year. Davis worked for her mom as a deputy clerk for over 26 years and then succeeded her mother by becoming the current Rowan County clerk last fall.
Davis' son, Nathan, works in Davis' office as one of her deputy clerks. While Davis was jailed on contempt of federal court, other deputy clerks in her office began issuing marriage licenses at the demand of U.S. District Judge David Bunning. However, Nathan continued refusing to issue marriage licenses.
She's a Democrat
When Davis' mother decided that she was going to retire after a 37-year clerking career, Davis ran for her mother's position as a Democrat.
While many might assume that Davis is a Republican, judging by the stance she has taken on same-sex marriage, Davis won a three-way Democratic primary last year by 23 votes. She then went on to defeat Republican John Cox with 53 percent of the vote in last November's general election.
"I have learned from the very best and it is an honor and privilege to follow in the footsteps of one of the most well-respected clerks in the state," Davis said after the election victory. "I don't know if there will be anything as sweet as having her pass this on to me and I will dedicate myself to the people and the office while serving my term."
She Has Divorced Three Times; Had Two Children Out of Wedlock
Davis has married four times and divorced three times, according to court documents. The divorces were finalized in 1994, 2006 and 2008. Davis has twice married her current husband, Ed Davis.
Davis gave birth to twins five months after her first divorce. However, the twins are the biological offspring of her third husband, according to U.S. News & World Report. Her twins were later adopted by her second husband after he and Davis got married.
She Became a Christian Just Four Years Ago
Although many commentators have been quick to label Davis as a Christian hypocrite because of her multiple marriages, she was not a Christian at that time. It wasn't until four-and-a-half years ago that Davis gave her life over to Christ.
Davis explained in a statement that when her mother-in-law passed away, she had just one dying wish for Davis — to attend a church service. Upon her passing, Davis obliged.
"Following the death of my godly mother-in-law over four years ago, I went to church to fulfill her dying wish," Davis stated. "There I heard a message of grace and forgiveness and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ."
"I am not perfect," Davis continued. "No one is. But I am forgiven and I love my Lord and must be obedient to Him and to the Word of God."
Davis now attends Solid Rock Apostolic Church in Morehead, Kentucky.
She Doesn't Oppose Issuing Gay Marriage Licenses; Only Opposes Having Her Name on Them
Although many people believe that Davis' demand for her office to refrain from issuing all marriage licenses is because she doesn't want to issue gay marriage certificates at all, Davis only has issue with with having her name and title as authorization on same-sex marriage certificates and does not oppose issuing same-sex marriage certificates that don't include her name on them.
Mat Staver, who heads the Liberty Counsel law firm that represents Davis, recently told CNN that if the state allowed for the clerk's office to issue marriage licenses that did not include her name anywhere on them, Davis' issue would be settled.
"She has asked for one simple accommodation for her faith, not just for her but all the other clerks in Kentucky that are similarly situated, that is, remove her name and title from the marriage certificates," Staver said. "That is all she is asking for. She will issue the certificates but she doesn't want her name and title on it, because that, her understanding and mine, is authorizing something that is contrary to her Christian values and convictions, authorizing it contrary to God's design for marriage."
"So that is where the conscience rub is and the clerks association has offered that same remedy for all the clerks," Staver continued. "That would be the simple fix, rather than jail, Kim Davis who has been a faithful servant of the people, the judgeship should just simply order the marriage licenses to remove her name and title and that would solve the matter."