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Kim Davis released, but judge bars her from withholding marriage licenses

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Kim Davis broke down in tears, then beamed as she stood before a cheering crowd after her release from jail Tuesday.

The Kentucky clerk, who was held in contempt of court for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses, urged her supporters not to give in.

“Thank you all so much. I love you all so very much,” she said. “I just want to give God the glory. His people have rallied, and you are a strong people. We serve a living God who knows exactly where each and every one of us is at. Just keep on pressing. Don’t let down, because he is here. He’s worthy.”

Davis, who said issuing the licenses would violate her conscience and go against her religion, plans to return to work in Rowan County, Kentucky, this week and won’t resign from her post, attorney Mat Staver said. Asked by a reporter whether her stay in jail was worth it, Davis smiled and nodded.

But she didn’t speak directly about the case, and a key question remains unanswered: When she goes back to work, what will she do when she gets there?

The judge who issued an order releasing her Tuesday attached a caveat Davis may not be willing to accept.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered that Davis be released from jail — five days after he sent her there — saying he was satisfied that her deputies fulfilled their obligations to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples in her absence.

But Bunning’s new order says Davis cannot interfere with her deputies issuing marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.

That means Davis could find herself behind bars again if she does anything to prevent the marriages from taking place, CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin said.

“If Ms. Davis stops them from issuing licenses, then we are right back where we started,” Toobin said. “And Judge Bunning has made it quite clear, he will lock her back up.”

‘She’s not going to violate her conscience’

Davis previously said she will not authorize her office to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if her name remains on the certificate. Bunning’s order makes no mention of revising the licenses to accommodate Davis, who says issuing a license with her name on it would violate her Christian convictions against same-sex marriage.

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