The Kentucky state Senate approved the creation of two different marriage license forms Thursday to differentiate between gay and straight couples in a move designed to respect traditional marriage.
The creation of the two different marriage license forms was designed to remove the names of county clerks, a response to county clerk Kim Davis who went to jail rather than sign gay marriage forms.
Former Governor, Steve Beshear, altered the Kentucky marriage license form last summer to replace bride and groom with first-party and second-party. Once approved by the Kentucky state House the new forms will be able to be used by both gay and straight couples, but applicants will have to note their gender.
The Kentucky state Senate previously turned down a proposal to create one marriage license form that would have given couples the option of checking bride, groom or spouse.
Republican state Senator, John Schickel, of Union, told ABC News the creation of the two marriage forms was designed to respect the morality of traditional marriage while still adhering to the law.
“Quite frankly, it’s almost disrespectful to the traditional family. That’s’ why, wisely, we decided to have two forms. That has nothing to do with bigotry, nothing to do with discrimination. It has to do with the vast majority of Kentuckians that respect traditional marriage.”
Gay marriage supporters, however, were quick to condemn the two different marriage forms as unconstitutional, Michael Aldridge, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky told the Lexington Herald Leader.
“Separate forms for gay and lesbian Kentuckians constitute unequal treatment under the law. Pure and simple, this bill is motivated by the desire to accommodate discrimination against same-sex couples.”
The bill, SB 5, was designed in response to Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis who spent five days in jail rather than sign forms approving gay marriage. The new bill was approved by a group of 96 clerks and deputy clerks, but that didn’t sit well with Democratic Senator Perry Clark, reports the Courier Journal.
“In my estimation the Rowan County clerk was not jailed for practicing her religion, she went to jail for trying to make others practice her religion.”
A Kentucky judge ruled this week that Davis had fulfilled her promise not to interfere with the approval of gay marriage licenses. Davis drew national attention last summer when she refused to sign gay marriage forms citing her own Christian religious beliefs.
The two new different marriage license forms were designed to accommodate the religious beliefs of Kentucky county clerks like Davis. ACLU director Aldridge, however, told the Lexington Herald Leader the two forms were designed to make discrimination against gay couples legal under the law.
“(This) is setting a dangerous slippery slope precedent by catering to one specific religious belief and privileging that over others.”
The creation of the two different Kentucky marriage license forms is opposed by members of the Fairness Campaign, a group fighting to pass a bill that would protect gay and transgender people from losing their jobs and homes.
The anti-discrimination law has little chance of becoming law in the deeply conservative state where lawmakers, even Democrats, are reluctant to bring it up for a vote.
The bill approving the two different Kentucky marriage license forms now moves to the state House where it could face additional amendments.
What do you think? Is it okay for Kentucky to have different marriage license forms for gay and straight couples?
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]