The clerk of Casey County, Kentucky is refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses despite the order of Democrat Gov. Steve Beshear.
During a private meeting, Beshear told county clerk Casey Davis Thursday that he should issue same-sex marriage licenses or resign, reports Kentucky.com. Davis said he is refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples because same-sex marriage is against his religious beliefs, and he is also refusing to resign his post.
Prior to meeting with Beshear, Davis said he was willing to go to jail for his religious beliefs.
“If that’s what it takes to express freedom of religion, I’m willing to do this,” the clerk said.
Beshear later said that while he respects Davis’ personal beliefs, the clerk took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution which, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled at the end of June, now recognizes same-sex marriages nationwide. The governor said that county attorney Thomas Weddle Jr. advised Davis that the oath of office he took requires him to issue same-sex marriage licenses, and added that the courts and the voters will “deal appropriately” with clerks who do not obey the law.
Beshear also refused to call for a special legislative session on the issue because of the cost, about $60,000 per day. State Sen. Albert Robinson (R) sent a letter earlier in the day to the governor, recommending an executive order for the special legislative session or the creation of an online system for issuing marriage licenses – an idea that Davis himself had suggested.
In response to Beshear’s rejection of the special legislative session due to cost, Davis said, “What cost do you put on freedom?”
Davis said he will continue to refuse to obey the governor’s order and to resign his post, adding that while he is concerned about being sued or charged with official misconduct, he will “lean on the Lord.”
Kent Ostrander of The Family Foundation said he is starting a legal defense fund for public officials who are being sued for their religious beliefs.
Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign, said county clerks could cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal defense fees for refusing to do their jobs.
Approximately 50 people congregated in the Capitol Rotunda in support of Davis. Pastor Jeff Fugate of Clays Mill Road Baptist Church in Lexington is in the process of organizing a rally in support of him.
Kim Davis, Rowan County Clerk has already been sued by the ACLU of Kentucky for also refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
The ACLU had previously announced in an op-ed in the Washington Post that it will no longer defend the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) because it is committed to the militant LGBT agenda and abortion rights.