Kentucky officials object to ruling, halt marriage licenses

McKee, Ky. (WKYT) Jackson County Judge-Executive Shane Gabbard says he’s standing up for what he believes in.

“I’m not a supporter of same sex-marriage and I wasn’t a supporter of the Supreme Court decision on a personal level,” Gabbard said Monday inside the judge-executive’s office.

Gabbard, who is a minister, says his church will not be marrying same-sex couples, and as a judge-executive he won’t be marrying anyone.

“Marriage has always been a service we didn’t have to provide, but could … according to the duties of the elected official handbook they give us,” he said.

The Jackson County Clerk says he has not had any requests for any same-sex marriage certificates but he says he will honor any that come in.

A few court clerks in Kentucky are refusing to issue marriage licenses to any couple as an objection to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage. Casey County Clerk Casey Davis says his religious convictions will not allow him to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He says his office is no longer issuing licenses to any couple.

Davis says "in good conscience I cannot put my name on one of those licenses." He says no same-sex couple has been in to the office to ask for one. Clerks in Rowan and Lawrence counties have also halted issuing marriage licenses in response to the Supreme Court ruling.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis told WKYT she will no longer issue any marriage licenses to any couples.

She told WKYT that “It is my deep conviction and belief that God ordained marriage between a man and a woman. I can’t be a part of this.”

Gabbard says he performed few marriage services anyway and says there are other places people can get married if they choose.

“What is oppressive to me, it feels we are being forced, these things are being forced on us,” he said.

The Rowan County clerk says she will not be issuing marriage licenses until “we get something else to protect us.”

Casey County Clerk Casey Davis says his religious convictions will not allow him to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He says his office is no longer issuing licenses to any couple.

Davis says "in good conscience I cannot put my name on one of those licenses." He says no same-sex couple has been in to the office to ask for one.

Early Monday, Terry Sebastian, a spokesman for Gov. Steve Beshear, says the office is reviewing how to respond. By Monday afternoon, Beshear issued the following statement:

“Our county clerks took an oath, as elected officials, to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Kentucky and to provide important duties in their communities. This oath does not dictate what our clerks must believe, but it certainly prescribes how they must act in carrying out their duties as elected officials. Same-sex couples in Kentucky are now entitled to the issuance of a marriage license by every county clerk, based on Friday’s ruling by the United States Supreme Court. While there are certainly strongly held views on both sides of this issue, the fact remains that each clerk vowed to uphold the law regardless of his or her personal beliefs. I appreciate the clerks who are fulfilling their duties, issuing licenses to all couples, and I would expect others to execute the duties of their offices as prescribed by law and to issue marriage licenses to all Kentuckians.”

William Sharp, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, said they would be prepared to battle in court if someone needs their assistance.

“We’ll be happy to represent anyone who is adversely affected by a county clerk’s decision to withhold issuance of a marriage license because of the clerk’s disagreement with last week’s decision,” Sharp told WKYT. “Issuing marriage licenses is one of the duties of elected county clerks, and we don’t think personal disagreement or objections to Friday’s Supreme Court decision is sufficient justification to withhold issuing marriage licenses to individuals who are otherwise qualified to obtain one.”



The Associated Press contributed to this story.



 
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