Matt Bevin has vowed to remove clerks’ names from marriage licenses as his first order of business as Kentucky’s new governor. Although the state’s current governor, Steve Beshear, said he has no power to change the form, the governor-elect said he will simply issue an executive order.
On June 26, the United States Supreme Court determined that laws preventing same-sex couples from marrying were unconstitutional — per the Fourteenth Amendment.
Within days, courts across the nation began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. However, despite the Supreme Court decision, some clerks refused to issue or sign the documents, due to their religious beliefs.
Although several clerks refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk Kim Davis remains one of the most outspoken.
Following the landmark Supreme Court decision, Davis declared she and her deputy clerks were unwilling to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples as homosexuality is against her religious beliefs.
As reported by Mediaite, Kim said her decision was not “a gay or lesbian issue.” Instead, the clerk said she is simply “upholding the word of God and how God defined marriage from the very beginning of time.”
Davis and her attorneys have argued that she has a constitutional right to her own religious beliefs. The clerk further argued that her religious beliefs prevent her from issuing or signing marriage licenses for homosexual couples.
Although Davis indeed has the freedom to practice her Apostolic Christian beliefs, U.S. District Judge David Bunning determined she also has an obligation to perform her job as clerk of courts. Essentially, Kim Davis was elected and swore under oath to uphold the law, without the interference of her personal beliefs.
“In this country, we live in a society of laws. Our system of justice requires citizens — and significantly, elected officials — to follow the rules of the courts.”
As a result of her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Kim Davis was named in several lawsuits and has spent five days in jail for contempt of court.
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) November 4, 2015
Although she eventually returned to work, and has allowed her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Davis refuses to issue the licenses herself. As reported by Kentucky.com, the clerk insists her “conscience will not allow” her to do so.
Following Davis’ release from jail, she met with Matt Bevin, who discussed the marriage license debacle with the clerk and vowed to help her if he won the election.
Kim Davis previously petitioned governor Beshear to remove clerks’ names from marriage license documents, so her name would not be associated with any same-sex marriages. However, the governor was unable to order any changes to the form and unwilling to issue an executive order.
On Tuesday, Matt Bevin was elected to serve as Kentucky’s governor beginning in January 2016. As reported by Reuters, the governor-elect said his first order of business is to “remove the names of the county clerks from the marriage form.”
It is unclear if, or how, Bevin’s decision will affect Kim Davis’ case. However, the governor-elect is following through with something she has been requesting for several months. In her opinion, the removal of her name will allow her to perform her job without violating the Supreme Court’s decision and Judge David Bunning’s order.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 5, 2015
Although Steve Beshear was unwilling to do so, Matt Bevin said he is in fact willing to issue an executive order to change the marriage license forms and remove the requirement for the clerk’s name.
[Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]