KENTUCKY: Anti-Gay Clerk Files Religious Discrimination Suit Against Governor
Late Tuesday, Davis filed a lawsuit against Beshear in federal district court. She blamed the governor for instructing all 120 of the state's county clerks to comply with this summer's U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage. Beshear's stance left dissenting county clerks vulnerable to lawsuits, including two that she currently faces, filed by groups of her constituents, Davis said. U.S. District Judge David Bunning is expected to rule in these cases in coming days. "The Commonwealth of Kentucky, acting through Governor Beshear, has deprived Davis of her religious-conscience rights guaranteed by the United States and Kentucky constitutions and laws, by insisting that Davis issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples contrary to her conscience, based on her sincerely held religious beliefs," Davis' lawsuit says.The suit also names the head of the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, which changed the marriage license forms to gender-neutral.
The Liberty Counsel has issued a press release:
“Governor Beshear is unlawfully picking and choosing the conscience-based exemptions to marriage that he deems acceptable,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. When Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway refused to defend Kentucky’s natural marriage laws after “pray[ing] over this decision,” Governor Beshear did not command that he perform his duties, but hired private attorneys to pursue the appeal. “In no uncertain terms, Governor Beshear’s policies and directives are intended to suppress religion—even worse, a particular religious belief,” Liberty Counsel’s complaint points out. “Thus, although Attorney General Conway was given a pass for his conscience about marriage without any threats of repercussion, clerks like Davis are being repeatedly told by their Governor to abandon their religiously informed beliefs or resign.” “Simply put, Governor Beshear is making secularism a litmus test for holding office in Kentucky,” said Mat Staver. “The governor is forcing clerks like Davis to choose between following the precepts of her religion and forfeiting her position, on the one hand, and abandoning one of the precepts of her religion in order to keep her position, on the other,” Staver concluded.The ruling in the ACLU's suit against Davis is expected next week. (Tipped by JMG reader Allen)