Bill to Protect Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis Moves Forward

Rowan County (Ky.) Clerk Kim Davis arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016 for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (Photo: AP)
Rowan County (Ky.) Clerk Kim Davis arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016 for President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
(Photo: AP)

A Senate committee on Wednesday voted for a bill that is intended to shield Kentucky’s county clerks from having to put their names on the marriage licenses of same-sex couples.

Senate Bill 5 passed the Senate State and Local Government Committee without serious opposition but with some concern that a plan to create two different marriage licenses would tend to treat gays and lesbians differently.

The bill is an attempt largely to codify an executive order by Gov. Matt Bevin that was designed to allow Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to have her office issue gay marriage licenses without having her name on them.

Davis gained national fame over the summer when she refused to comply with a judge’s order to issue the licenses to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said gay people have a right under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to be married.

The bill would create license forms that would allow for a county clerk’s name to not appear on the form. Instead, just the name of the office’s employee that records the license would be on it.

Republican Sen. Steve West, the bill’s sponsor, said that under the plan, one form would include spaces for “bride” and “groom” and the other one would include spaces for “first party” and “second party.” He said county clerks asked for different forms because constituents wanted them.

Democratic Sen. Morgan McGarvey called for a floor amendment that would create a single form that would allow each person to decide whether they wanted to be identified as “bride” or “groom” or simply as “spouse.”

“You would just have one form … it would probably be cheaper, it would be more efficient and wouldn’t treat people differently and I just don’t see the downside of that,” McGarvey said.

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SOURCE: USA Today
Joseph Gerth, The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal