The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, no friend of same-sex marriage, nonetheless recognizes the power of the U.S. Supreme Court. Today it denied a stay of an appeal by the Kentucky clerk who claims a religious exemption from performing her legal duty of issuing marriage licenses — at least when same-sex couples want them.

Pretty simple to understand, really. From the 6th Circuit:


“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.”

She has until next Tuesday to begin complying with the law, or be held in contempt of court. It’s simple. She can obey the law. Or she can go to jail for contempt. Or she can quit and let someone else do their legal duty and obey the Constitution of the United States.

The Sixth Circuit alone among appellate courts had resisted arguments that same-sex couples shouldn’t be prohibited by the states from marrying.