Two Kentucky state lawmakers proposed a bill that would exempt clerks from issuing same-sex marriages on the grounds of religious freedom.
Republican state Reps. Stan Lee of Lexington, Kentucky, and David Meade of Stanford, sponsored the bill and will bring it forward for January’s legislative session.
“There have been numerous media reports about county clerks who have expressed real concerns about how issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples violates their religious beliefs and convictions,” Lee said on Wednesday. “There are reports of as many as half of all county clerks who want a legislative solution to this issue. There is no doubt many others who are afraid to speak out due to the threat of civil lawsuits or criminal prosecution."
The legislation comes following the lawsuit filed by the ACLU against Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who made headlines for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses following the Supreme Court ruling which legalized gay marriage nationwide.
“If we truly believe in the First Amendment right to freedom of religion, then shouldn't our clergy, as well as our county clerks, be entitled to this added protection?” Meade said.
The bill would also protect ministers from having to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. This part of the bill would be mostly symbolic, considering the Supreme Court ruling had no effect on ministers who refuse to officiate same-sex weddings.
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