February 2016 Church & State | AU Bulletin

Kentucky marriage licenses will no longer require signatures from county clerks thanks to an executive order from the state’s new governor. Matt Bevin (R), who took office in December, said his order was intended to “ensure that the sincerely held religious beliefs of all Kentuckians are honored.”

Bevin’s predecessor, Gov. Steve Beshear (D) had refused to accommodate Kim Davis and other county clerks who object to same-sex marriage on religious grounds. But Davis took the matter further than her colleagues and repeatedly refused to issue the licenses despite exhausting her legal options. A federal judge eventually jailed her for her refusal to comply with the law; she was released after promising she would no longer prevent her deputy clerks from issuing the licenses.

Davis’ attorney, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, applauded Bevin’s decision. “It’s a great Christmas present for Kim Davis and for others like her,” he said.

But the order may not end marriage-related legal trouble in the state, and some observers have argued that Bevin lacks the authority to unilaterally alter the licenses.