After being jailed and publicly ridiculed, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis finally got a law to protect her in the same-sex marriage license fight.
Republican Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed a bill Wednesday that brings “statutory finality” to the long battle over marriage licenses in the state, WLKY reports. Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis refused in 2015 to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples with her name on them, citing her religious belief in traditional marriage. She was sued and jailed for five days when a judge held her in contempt of court, but she was later released when other employees in the clerk’s office began issuing licenses.
The bill changes marriage licenses so they do not include the county clerk’s name and allow people to check whether they are a bride, groom or spouse.
“We now have a single form that accommodates all concerns,” Bevin told Reuters in an emailed statement. “Everyone benefits from this common sense legislation. There is no additional cost or work required by our county clerks. They are now able to fully follow the law without being forced to compromise their religious liberty.”
Between Davis’ release and this law, Davis was not putting her name on the licenses. Bevin then wrote an executive order allowing clerk’s to opt out because of their religious beliefs which basically allowed Davis’ new system. But critics said the governor couldn’t simply change the rules without a law, so the law signed Wednesday codifies Davis’ decision and creates one standard marriage license for all couples that requires no clerk signature. The state legislature passed the bill Friday and sent it to Bevin for his signature.“The First Amendment guarantees Kim and every American the free exercise of religion, even when they are working for the government. County clerks should not be forced to license something that is prohibited by their religious convictions,” Mat Staver Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel the group representing Davis, said in a statement. “To provide a license is to provide approval and places a legal authority behind the signature. We celebrate this legislative victory. County clerks are now able to fully follow the law without being forced to compromise their religious liberty.”
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