Republican Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky signed legislation that removes the name and title of a county clerk from marriage licenses. The new law has been praised by controversial clerk Kim Davis and her attorneys.
The bill was passed by a unanimous vote by the Kentucky Legislature. The House approved the legislation by 97-0, while the Senate followed suit by a vote of 36-0, according to WKYT.
On Apr. 13, Gov. Bevin signed the bill, declaring that it would provide “statutory finality to the marriage license dilemma."
“We now have a single form that accommodates all concerns,” Bevin continued, according to the Christian Post. “"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."
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The legislation has been pitched as a remedy to the national controversy instigated by Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who refused to issue same-sex couples marriage licenses in 2015 following the landmark Supreme Court decision making gay marriage a right nationwide on June 26, 2015.
Davis spent a five-day stint in jail for refusing to comply with the law. Mathew Staver, Davis' attorney and founder of the Liberty Counsel, argued that forcing his client to allow same-sex marriage licenses to be issued from her office violated her religious conscience.
“To provide a license is to provide approval and places a legal authority behind the signature,” Staver said in a statement following Gov. Bevin’s signature.
“The First Amendment guarantees Kim and every American the free exercise of religion, even when they are working for the government,” Staver added.
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The Liberty Counsel has been aggressively pushing anti-LGBT legislation across the U.S. since the June 2015 Supreme Court ruling, according to CBS News. For instance, the North Carolina lawmakers who passed the religious freedom law that stripped LGBT protections in the state were helped and advised by Staver’s colleagues.
“It is only about being free to pursue your faith,” Staver said. “We have no interest in discriminating against anyone.”
Davis has praised the new law that will allow clerks to approve of marriage licenses without having their names share the same space as same-sex couples.
“It was the exact accommodation that I had been asking for from the very beginning,” Davis said, according to The Christian Post.
Davis asserted that other Kentucky laws, ones that do not relate to marriage laws, will need to be rewritten following the Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges ruling.
“Our Kentucky marriage laws are obliterated due to the Obergefell ruling, so those all have to be reworked, revamped and rewritten,” Davis said. "Marriage is just the tip of the iceberg of how this Obergefell decision, this ruling, it affects not only marriage laws — it affects property law, it affects income tax law. It is just a plethora that it intertwines in and marriage is just the tip of it”