February 2016 Church & State - February 2015

Ky. Gov. Approves Marriage License Compromise

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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.


Americans United & the National Women’s Law Center file suit to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans.

Abortion bans violate the separation of church and state. Americans United and the National Women’s Law Center—the leading experts in religious freedom and gender justice—have joined forces with thirteen clergy from six faith traditions to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans as unconstitutionally imposing one narrow religious doctrine on everyone.

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