13 February 2016

A compromise found for Kim Davis

If you think back to the controversy spun in the media last September regarding Kim Davis, you might recall that she proposed a way for her to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples without violating her conscience. As I wrote at the time:
Davis has herself has put forward several suggestions as to how marriage licenses might be issued in Kentucky - including removing the name of the county clerk from the license - while also accommodating religious beliefs. As Terry Mattingly of Get Religion observed - and helpfully documented and explained - yesterday, state law in Kentucky does not presently allow such accommodations, but such a change to the state's laws would be, as House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) said, "an easy fix."

Why, then, has this easy fix not be done to respect both Davis' legal right to the free exercise of religion and the legal right of homosexual couples to what the law deems as marriage not yet been done? It should not be difficult to accommodate both rights. The reason why this has not been done is simple: Governor Steve Beshear (D) refuses to call a special session of the state legislature to resolve the situation.
This solution had already been enacted in other states, but the Governor of Kentucky refused to allow it at the time.

Now, however, where the executive and the legislative branches of government would not bring about this simple solution, the judicial branch has done so. Reuters provides this background:
The federal judge who threw Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis into jail last year for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples said she had not interfered with the process since her release and that licenses with her name removed should still be valid.
U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning ruled late on Tuesday that Rowan County's Davis, who spent five days in jail last September for her stand on marriage licenses for gay couples, had not interfered with her deputies' issuing the licenses.

When she returned to work, Davis removed her name, title and personal authorization from the licenses.
Lawyers with the ACLU argued that the altered licenses were invalid; Judge Bunning disagreed.

See, that wasn't so hard.

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