‘I deserve relief’: County clerk wants taxpayers to help him avoid job duties on same-sex marriage
A county clerk asked Kentucky’s governor to call a special legislative session to solve his personal moral dilemma between his sworn governmental duties and his religious beliefs.
Casey Davis, the Casey County clerk, showed up without an appointment Monday at Gov. Steve Beshear’s office to discuss his problem, reported The State Journal.
The governor, however, was in Louisville for a meeting, so Davis described a possible taxpayer-funded workaround to his job duties to reporters at the capitol.
“I want (Beshear) to call a special session about it,” the county clerk said. “My solution would be, to what everyone else has called the law of the land, is have an online issuance for marriage licenses so that it takes it out of the hands of the individual.”
He said the state-run website — where couples could buy marriage licenses, which currently cost up to $37, as Kentuckians purchase hunting and fishing licenses — would allow him to perform his sworn duties at his taxpayer-funded job without compromising his religious beliefs.
“I think I deserve some sort of relief that I took my oath to do this job to the best of my ability so help me God,” Davis said. “I can’t go beyond what my conscience allows.”
The Family Foundation of Kentucky has set up a religious defense fund to pay legal bills for county clerks and other government workers who refuse to perform their job duties related to same-sex marriage, but Davis insists that his stance is not discriminatory against LGBT people.
“I respect the stand that they have made, but I ask them to respect the stand that I’m trying to make,” Davis said.
The Casey County attorney said he respected the county clerk – but he said Davis was wrong about this issue.
Thomas Weddle, the county attorney, said Davis should find a deputy clerk to issue the marriage licenses – as directed by Attorney General Jack Conway – or face removal from his position as county clerk.
Davis and Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis are the only two clerks in Kentucky who still refuse to issue marriage licenses, although Clinton County clerk Sheila Booher has stopped commenting on the issue after initially expressing misgivings.
The governor said Monday that he understood their concerns, but he reminded the state’s 120 county clerks that they had taken an oath to uphold constitutions of both Kentucky and the United States.
The ACLU filed a lawsuit last week against the Rowan County clerk on behalf of four couples – including two same-sex couples – who were denied marriage licenses following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality.
The Casey County clerk, who attended a brief prayer rally with several hundred people in Liberty before going to the capitol in Frankfort, said an Independence Day celebration reminded him that the American Revolution was fought so he could live as he pleased.
“I’ve never cried over fireworks before but when they went off in Liberty I had a change of heart,” Davis said. “The part of our national anthem that talks about the bombs bursting in air and how our flag was still there made me think of how those men and women were persecuted (during the American Revolution) and homosexuals have been afforded their rights and I am afforded mine.”
Watch this video report posted online by WKYT-TV: