Davis has said that “[t]o issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience.” While clerks do “sign off” on certificates, that is not a discretionary function. Their signature confirms compliance with the dictates of the law, not personal moral dictates. They cannot deny certificates to those who are legally qualified to receive them.
Davis may have had a principled position in previously declining to issue these licenses while the courts considered the merits of the question. Similarly, clerks who believed that there was a legal basis to issue such licenses based on lower court decisions would claim a principled stand. However, that debate ended the minute the box holding the Obergefell opinions was opened in the Supreme Court clerk’s office on June 26.