County Clerk Kim Davis refuses to issue same-sex marriage licenses
A county clerk in Rowan, Kentucky is suing the state’s governor, claiming that her being forced to issue same-sex marriage licenses infringes on her religious freedom.
Kim Davis, who was last month videoed refusing to grant a marriage license to David Moore and his partner of 17 years, is herself being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky.
Davis decided that her county would not issue any marriage licenses rather than grant licenses to same-sex couples after the US Supreme Court legalised marriage equality across the country.
In her lawsuit, Davis argues that Governor Steve Beshear should have allowed her and other clerks opposed to same-sex marriage to “opt-out” of issuing these licenses, reports The Lexington Herald-Leader.
She also claims that by not doing so Beshear has put her in the position of being sued and thus he should cover the costs of any damages she may be forced to pay.
“The Commonwealth of Kentucky, acting through Governor Beshear, has deprived Davis of her religious-conscience rights guaranteed by the United States and Kentucky constitutions and laws, by insisting that Davis issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples contrary to her conscience, based on her sincerely held religious beliefs,” Davis said in the suit.
Governor Beshear has previously told clerks that their personal beliefs cannot affect “how they must act in carrying out their duties as elected officials.”
The ACLU of Kentucky also earlier commented that while Davis has the right to believe what she wants, “she cannot pick and choose who she is going to serve, or which duties her office will perform based on her religious beliefs.”
In South Africa, individual Home Affairs marriage officers can be exempted by the minister from officiating same-sex marriages on the basis of their religious views, but the service must still nevertheless be available at every Home Affairs branch.