FRANKFORT, Ky. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Kentucky's newly elected governor has announced that county officials will no longer need to sign same-sex "marriage" licenses.
Not even a week after winning the Kentucky gubernatorial race, Republican and governor-elect Matt Bevin has stated that county officials with religious objections to same-sex "marriage" will not be forced to put their name on any such documents.
"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.
This would include Rowan county clerk Kim Davis, who made national headlines over the past few months for refusing to sign marriage licenses to same-sex couples. As a result Davis spent five days in jail in early September, where she was visited and publicly supported by then governor-elect Bevin, among others.
According to Davis, Bevin is a "genuine and caring person" and states that she "will be forever thankful that he came to visit me while I was in jail. ... I am looking forward to his leadership as our new governor."
Lawyers of former Kentucky governor democrat Steve Beshear had described the Davis position as "absurd," "forlorn" and "obtuse."
Despite repeated requests from representatives of Kim Davis to remove clerk names from such documents, Gov. Beshear stated that he had no authority to do that and that it could only be addressed by the state legislature. The Kentucky state legislature is scheduled to reconvene in January, but Beshear refused to call a special session in order to discuss the Davis situation.
Bevin, the underdog winner in Wednesday's gubernatorial election and a vocal critic of last summer's Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex "marriage," should be the best thing that has ever happened to religious freedom in Kentucky, says Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, the non-profit legal organization that represented Kim Davis.
"The election was not even close," Staver continued. "The lopsided victory for Matt Bevin stunned most political pundits. There is no question that the issue of religious freedom and same-sex marriage played a role in the results. The people favor traditional values and marriage, and they are tired of the political elites represented by Governor Beshear who are out of touch with ordinary, God-loving citizens."
Staver says that Liberty Counsel is looking "forward to working with Governor-Elect Bevin to accommodate the religious convictions of Kim Davis and other Kentucky clerks."
Several polls declared Kentucky voters split on whether Davis should be removed from office for her defiance; a majority, however, declared that they believe the marriage license process should be altered to accommodate those with religious objections.
Bevin's surprise victory shouldn't come as such a surprise, considering the polled opinions of Kentuckians concerning the Davis situation, says Mat Staver.
Bevin has also publicly joined over half of the country's governors in rejecting the resettlement of Syrian refugees within the mainland, particularly in the wake of the weekend's terrorist attacks in Paris. According to Becky Jordan, director of the Kentucky Office of Refugees, the governor does not have much authority concerning refugees, as the state privatized the resettlement program more than two decades ago.
Any and all federal subsidies for the program currently flow through Catholic Charities of Louisville.
Bevin first rose to prominence last year in a hotly contested primary election for the Kentucky Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, which he lost to incumbent Mitch McConnell.