The lawyer for Kim Davis blames Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear for his client’s protracted religious liberty fight that has played out nationally over the last two months.
“He is forcing same-sex marriage onto Kim Davis and the other clerks despite their religious convictions and conscience,” Mat Staver tells The Daily Signal. “That is unconscionable and reprehensible.”
Davis, the chief clerk of Rowan County, Ky., has refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses because she says having her name or authority associated with them would violate the tenets of her Christian faith.
After six days in jail, Davis was released Tuesday because her office’s deputy clerks are now issuing licenses to gay couples.
Staver says Beshear can put an end to this saga by making a religious liberty accommodation in the form of an executive order that allows the authority of marriage licenses to come from the Commonwealth of Kentucky, not the county clerk’s office.
Staver says the governor, who is a Democrat, has made accommodations before in the case of Democrat Attorney General Jack Conway. At the time, the pro-gay marriage attorney general said he could not in good conscience appeal a judge’s ruling that decided Kentucky’s ban on recognizing same-sex marriages from other states was unconstitutional.
“In 2014 he accommodated his attorney general [Jack Conway], the single law enforcement officer of the entire commonwealth, because he said he could not bring his conscience to defend the marriage laws so he allowed him to opt out. He paid several hundred thousand dollars to a private counsel to do the attorney general’s job. But for Kim Davis, who is one of 120, he won’t do just a reprinting of the form to take her name and title off, which costs nothing to the commonwealth.”
Beshear says he has no plans to take any action in this case.
As for the future, Staver says Davis, who is also a Democrat, will return to work at the end of the week, and though she is out of jail, this saga is far from over.
“There’s nothing that’s resolved.”