Planning his first month as Kentucky governor, Matt Bevin said he will issue an executive order to change the state marriage licenses in favor of county clerks who say issuing licenses to same-sex couples goes against their religious beliefs.
“One thing I will take care of right away is we will remove the names of the county clerks from the marriage form,” Bevin told reporters Friday, according to Reuters.
Kentucky clerk Kim Davis made the state the center for the national discussion about same-sex marriage and religious freedom when she was sent to jail for five days after refusing to issue licenses to same-sex couples.
Bevin came to the support of Davis, meeting with her when she was released, and he has openly criticized the Supreme Court decision making same-sex marriages legal.
Davis did remove her name from marriage licenses when she returned to work by changing the certificates to say “Issued pursuant to a federal court order,” but there were questions about whether those licenses were valid. Davis requested that the state amend the licenses so they are no longer issued under the clerk’s authority.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said he did not have the authority to make the change. He said approval from the legislature, which does not meet until January, is need to make the change. He was also not willing to call a special session to address Davis’s request.
Davis’s attorney Mat Staver said Davis and his law firm Liberty Counsel applaud Bevin for this announcement.
“Gov. Elect Bevin’s impending executive order is a welcome relief for Kim Davis and should be for everyone who cherishes religious freedom,” Staver said in a statement.