Casey Davis, the Casey County Court Clerk in Kentucky who has refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses on grounds of religious objection, has just received an ultimatum from the state’s governor.
Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, met with the man on July 9 and told him in no uncertain terms that his duties are to follow the U.S. Constitution, and if he cannot do it, then he needs to step down.
“I advised Mr. Davis that I respect his right to his own personal beliefs regarding same-sex marriages,” said Beshear in a statement. “However, when he was elected, he took a constitutional oath to uphold the United States Constitution.”
“One of Mr. Davis’ duties as county court clerk is to issue marriage licenses, and the Supreme Court now says that the United States Constitution requires those marriage licenses to be issued regardless of gender.”
Casey Davis confirmed the words of Gov. Beshear, but did not indicate that he would be backing down.
“I can’t quit … I have a mortgage to pay,” he said, adding that he would neither step down nor begin to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
In comments reported by the Lexington Herald Leader, he added this.
“Nature’s law will supersede any law that man puts on a piece of paper. My job cannot go beyond what my conscience allows.”
In the video below, another Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis (no relation to Casey Davis) also refused to issue a same-sex marriage license. The video has been viewed more than 1.6 million times, and Kim Davis has been sued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU of Kentucky) for the decision. The organization is considering a similar suit against Casey Davis, NBC News reports.
In Casey’s case, the embattled clerk has at least recommended an alternative that he believes would appease same-sex couples and “relieve” the state’s 120 county clerks.
“We bank online. We buy groceries online … We buy hunting and fishing licenses online. I think we can buy marriage licenses online,” he said.
Many online commenters were irate nonetheless. This particular comment sums up a majority of the thousands who have weighed in.
“People don’t get to choose which laws they follow and which ones they refuse to follow. I agree that if this person cannot follow the law he should leave or be fired.”
But what do you think about it, readers? Should Casey Davis step down, or should Kentucky adopt his “alternative” idea?
[Image of Casey Davis via Lexington Herald Leader, linked above]