KENTUCKY: Governor-Elect Matt Bevin Vows To Remove Names Of Clerks From Marriage Licenses

The Lexington Courier-Journal reports:

Matt Bevin promised Friday that soon after he becomes governor on Dec. 8, he will issue an executive order to remove the names of county clerks from marriage licenses – a step he said will protect county clerks from being jailed for their religious beliefs. “One thing I will take care of right away, we will remove the names of county clerks from the marriage forms. That is going to be done. The argument that that cannot be done is baloney,” Bevin said during his first news conference since his election victory on Tuesday. Also during the news conference Bevin repeated his pledge to dismantle kynect, the state’s health insurance exchange that has been hailed as a national model. He added that he will not be releasing his tax returns – even though he said during the campaign that he would do so if elected.

More from Reuters:

It was unclear what effect his order would have on the case of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who was jailed for five days after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, making Kentucky a focal point in the debate over gay marriage in the United States. Davis, 50, met with Bevin the day she was released from jail. Davis took steps to remove her name and office from the forms after she was released. She also had repeatedly urged current governor Steve Beshear, a Democrat, to remove clerk names from the form or provide another type of relief so she would not violate her Apostolic Christian beliefs. Beshear has said he had no authority to relieve county clerks of their statutory duties by executive order and the issue could be addressed by the state legislature, which reconvenes in January.

The Liberty Counsel celebrates:

“Kim Davis and Liberty Counsel applaud Governor Elect Matt Bevin for his leadership in protecting the rights of conscience of all County Clerks,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “It is refreshing to have someone with the integrity, character, and concern of Matt Bevin leading the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Gov. Steve Beshear could have resolved this marriage license issue a long time ago, but he chose to ignore the plea for help. Gov. Elect Bevin’s impending executive order is a welcome relief for Kim Davis and should be for everyone who cherishes religious freedom,” said Staver.