A court clerk in Kentucky at the centre of a storm over gay marriage has been ordered before a judge - after defying a Supreme Court ruling and claiming she was acting under "God’s authority".
A day after the Supreme Court refused to support her position, Kim Davis, a clerk in Rowan County, rejected requests for marriage licenses for two same-sex couples.
Ms Davis said she was not issuing licences and asked people to leave. Asked under whose authority she was refusing to issue them, she replied: “Under God’s authority.”
The Associated Press said two couples were denied licenses after the office opened on Tuesday morning.
A deputy clerk told April Miller and Karen Roberts, who came to the office followed by dozens of television cameras, that no licenses would be issued and refused to make Ms Davis available.
A second couple, David Moore and David Ermold, rejected for a fourth time, also demanded to speak with Ms Davis.
“Tell her to come out and face the people she’s discriminating against,” said Mr Ernold.
At first, Ms Davis remained in her office with the door closed and blinds drawn, but she emerged a few minutes later, saying that her office would continue to deny the licenses “under God’s authority”.
Ms Davis asked Mr Moore and Mr Ermold to leave, but they refused to do so.
“We’re not leaving until we have a license,” Mr Ermold said, according to media reports.
“Then you’re going to have a long day,” Ms Davis told him.
Ms Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses the day the Supreme Court legalised same-sex marriage in June.
After the state’s governor told county clerks to issue marriage licenses to all eligible couples, a federal court rejected Ms Davis’s argument that she should be excused from the obligation given her religious beliefs.
The New York Times said Ms Davis then filed an emergency application last Friday with Elena Kagan, the Supreme Court justice who supervises cases arising from the judicial circuit that includes Kentucky.
On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to intervene in the case, leaving Ms Davis no legal grounds to refuse to grant licenses to same-sex couples.
Eight people who filed a federal lawsuit against Ms Davis in July challenging her office's policy of not issuing marriage licenses, filed a second motion on Tuesday, asking US District Judge David Bunning to hold her in contempt of court.
Judge Bunning reportedly ordered Ms Davis and her deputies to appear in federal court in Ashland, Kentucky, on Thursday, Reuters reported.
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