FRANKFORT, Ky. (Christian Examiner) – Kentucky Gov.-Elect Matt Bevin, the state's second Republican governor in forty years, pledged Friday to remove county clerks' names from marriage licenses—by executive order.
"The argument that that cannot be done is baloney," Bevin said, referencing Gov. Steve Beshear's position about removing the names, according to Kentucky.com. "We've already changed those forms three times for crying out loud."
"I will be forever thankful that he [Matt Bevin] came to visit me while I was in jail. At a clerks' meeting he hugged me and said he was praying for me. I am looking forward to his leadership as our new Governor.
On Bevin's election, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis said, "I congratulate Matt Bevin on his win. I am ecstatic. He is such a genuine and caring person." His executive order will provide liberation for her and other state clerks who share her convictions.
Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel and Davis' legal defense, in a news release from Liberty Counsel, praised the rising governor for his clear stand.
"Kim Davis and Liberty Counsel applaud Governor Elect Matt Bevin for his leadership in protecting the rights of conscience of all County Clerks," Staver said. "It is refreshing to have someone with the integrity, character, and concern of Matt Bevin leading the Commonwealth of Kentucky."
Davis, who is suing Beshear for failing to accommodate her religious beliefs, said she will be able to fulfill her duties as court clerk if her name does not appear on the marriage license of same-sex couples.
"Gov. Steve Beshear could have resolved this marriage license issue a long time ago," said Staver, who is Davis' attorney, "but he chose to ignore the plea for help. Gov.-Elect Bevin's impending executive order is a welcome relief for Kim Davis and should be for everyone who cherishes religious freedom."
LEGAL ISSUES RESOLVED
Gov.-Elect Bevin, who won the election for governor by a 52 percent majority, agrees with Davis' attorney that a legislative order is not needed to change the state's marriage licenses. "We will take the names off those forms," Bevin promised. "We will do that by executive order. We will do it right out of the gate."
Davis, who was jailed five days in September over her refusal to issue marriage licenses to legally qualified same-sex couples because she believes their marriage to be a sin, has been a point of debate in the race for governor.
Davis is pleased with Bevin's declaration, as she specifically requested the incumbent governor remove her name from the license. "I will be forever thankful that he [Bevin] came to visit me while I was in jail," Davis said. "At a clerks' meeting he hugged me and said he was praying for me."
The court cases currently in progress regarding the authority needed to change the forms will likely be rendered unneeded by the gov.-elect's executive order.
Staver called the order "a clear, simple path to resolving all the legal efforts on behalf of Davis."
David said, "I am looking forward to his leadership as our new Governor."