US religious liberty campaigners are claiming victory in the case of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who spent time in prison after refusing to register same-sex marriages.
The case became a flashpoint for conservative resistance to the federal recognition of same-sex marriages and drew opposition from gay activists. Davis was facing three lawsuits from couples backed by the Kentucky ACLU. However, the suits were dismissed by Judge David Bunning, who said that because a new state law had removed the names of clerks from licences – a major issue for Davis and her backers – "there no longer remains a case or controversy before the court".
The judge's ruling was celebrated by religious rights organisation Liberty Counsel, which had backed Davis. Its founder and chairman Mat Staver said: "County clerks are now able to perform their public service without being forced to compromise their religious liberty. The case is now closed and the door has been shut on the ACLU's attempt to assess damages against Kim Davis. This victory is not just for Kim Davis. It is a victory for everyone who wants to remain true to their deeply-held religious beliefs regarding marriage while faithfully serving the public."
Franklin Graham, who had expressed strong support for Davis' fight, said on Facebook: "I thank God for men and women willing to take a bold stand for biblical truth – no matter the cost."