Kentucky county clerks call for special session after clerk sued for not issuing marriage licenses

By : Wire and Staff Reports
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FRANKFORT, Ky. – A county clerk says nearly half of the county clerks in Kentucky have asked Gov. Steve Beshear to call a special session of the legislature to address the issue of gay marriage licenses after same-sex marriage was legalized.

Lawrence County Clerk Chris Jobe says a letter sent July 8 by 57 clerks to Beshear explains that they face a conflict between their religious beliefs and job duties following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 26 ruling.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo asked Beshear to call lawmakers back into session over the issue. But Beshear said there was no need for lawmakers to consider an issue the Supreme Court has settled.

This comes after a gay couple seeking a marriage license in Morehead, Kentucky was denied by Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis because of her religious convictions.

The couple filmed the incident and uploaded it to YouTube. The video has been viewed more than a million times to date.

“We feel it’s our right as citizens, according to the Supreme Court and according to the governor of Kentucky, that we should be able to get married,” the couple said in the video.

They have been together for 17 years and have lived in Rowan County for the last 10 years.

Davis said that her Christian beliefs prevent her from abiding by the Supreme Court ruling. The clerk told The Associated Press that she will no longer be issuing marriage licenses to couples – gay or straight.

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued Davis after she refused marriage licenses to a total of two gay couples and two straight couples.

“Ms. Davis has the absolute right to believe whatever she wants about God, faith, and religion, but as a government official who swore an oath to uphold the law, she cannot pick and choose who she is going to serve, or which duties her office will perform based on her religious beliefs,” attorney Laura Landenwich said in an ACLU press release.

Davis is among a small number of clerks and judges across the South who have refused to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“Officials have warned that the defiant clerks could be risking criminal charges,” the AP writes. “Warren County Attorney Ann Milliken, president of the Kentucky County Attorneys Association, said clerks could be charged with official misconduct, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.”

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