Right Hooks

KY Governor's Solution to the Same-Sex Marriage Issue

The order fixes a wrinkle in KY law, allowing religious accommodation.

Dan Gilmore · Dec. 23, 2015

This was the move to religious accommodation that Kentucky needed in the first place. Kentucky’s new governor, Matt Bevin, issued an executive order Tuesday to revise the state’s marriage license forms so that the names of the county clerks don’t appear on the document. According to the order, it was “to ensure that the sincerely held religious beliefs of all Kentuckians are honored.” Bevin’s order fixes a wrinkle in Kentucky law that was lost in the midst of the Gay Mafia’s witch-hunt after Obergefell v. Hodges.

After the Supreme Court handed down the ruling that made same-sex marriage the law of the land, the clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky, Kim Davis, spent five days in jail for refusing to issue any marriage licenses. At issue were the forms the county clerks in Kentucky used. Each one listed the name of the clerk. Even if Davis directed a member of her staff to fill out the form and issue a license in her stead, her name — and her endorsement of the state’s definition of marriage — was still in place. Davis said at the time, “To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience.”

This executive order doesn’t satisfy the people originally critical of Davis. Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union say the Kentucky governor doesn’t have the authority to change the forms (wonder what they think of another executive that de facto granted mass amnesty through executive order). In other words, it’s not enough for the nation’s foundation of religious Liberty and tradition of accommodation to continue. The clerks in Kentucky must be made to care.

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