Gay Marriage

Incoming Kentucky Governor Promises No More Kim Davises Will Be Necessary

Bevin intends to take clerks' names off marriage certificates

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Matt Bevin
Photo: Matt Bevin for Governor

Let us toast to the likely end of the whole Kim Davis mess, shall we? The Kentucky county clerk infamously drew national attention for attempting to combine her secular elected position with her religious objections to same-sex marriage recognition. She went to jail briefly for contempt because she refused to put her name on same-sex marriage licenses as her job required of her. She said what she wanted was for the state to  not require her name to be on there, which she felt was her personal endorsement of these marriages.

The previous governor, Steve Beshear, declined to accommodate her. He said the state legislature would have to act to change the job duties for the county clerk, and he declined to call a special session.

But there was just an election in Kentucky last week, and, as you may have heard, the Republicans cleaned up at the polls. Republican Matt Bevin, a Tea Party favorite, beat Democrat Jack Conway, the state's attorney general, to become the next governor.

Bevin has criticized the Supreme Court's summer ruling that mandated all states must recognize same-sex marriage. It doesn't look like he's planning to defy the court. Instead, he is going to give resistant clerks like Davis what they want. Licenses to same-sex couples will still be handed out, but Bevin says he's going to arrange it so that clerks won't have to put their names on them anymore. He's quoted as saying he'll remove their names from all marriage licenses going forward, so there's not going to be an issue of "separate but equal" licensing. He says he'll be doing it via executive order in December when he takes office, something Beshear previously said was not possible.

Another interesting detail noted by the New York Times that could have relevance in the new year when state legislatures return to session:

Ideally, Mr. Bevin has said, a marriage license should not be something that the government grants; rather, it should be a form that anyone can download at will, and then submit to the government purely to be recorded.

If that sounds familiar, legislation that proposed exactly this sort of shift in marriage licenses was recently introduced in Alabama. It failed, but only because it was introduced during a special session, and two-thirds majority support was required. We may see it return next year. I've examined the legislation previously, and while it is obviously motivated by those who object to gay marriages (like Bevin), there's absolutely no indication that it would be used to try to deny granting the same legal rights and privileges to same-sex couples. Instead it would shift the dynamic so that state bureaucrats aren't involved in the process of identifying or approving what is an acceptable marriage. If conflicts or legal issues arise, though, the courts would still have the authority to determine whether a marriage is legitimate under current law and make decisions accordingly.

As such, to the extent that government insists it must stay involved in marriage recognition at all, I'm of a positive mind on the Alabama's proposal, even if it is driven by anti-gay attitudes (under the wording of Alabama law, the judges responsible for performing civil marriages there aren't legally obligated to do so, and many have opted out). It puts the citizens in control of defining their relationships to the government. It reverses the current dynamic of the government telling the citizens that they're married.

Maybe as governor, Bevin will attempt a similar shift in Kentucky. If not, assuming Alabama follows through in 2016, we'll see this experiment in action and will be able to determine whether it is of honest intent and a more liberty-oriented way of recognizing marriages.

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  1. I’m looking forward to a thoughtful and productive thread.

    1. :::music stops playing:::

      Mister, you come to the wrong dang place.

      1. *eases toward saloon door*

      2. Why’s there chicken wire around the stage?

  2. Bevin has criticized the Supreme Court’s summer ruling that mandated all states must recognize same-sex marriage. It doesn’t look like he’s planning to defy the court. Instead, he is going to give resistant clerks like Davis what they want. Licenses to same-sex couples will still be handed out, but Bevin says he’s going to arrange it so that clerks won’t have to put their names on them anymore. He’s quoted as saying he’ll remove their names from all marriage licenses going forward, so there’s not going to be an issue of “separate but equal” licensing.

    “Terrible idea. We don’t even get to use the political system to punish our enemies that way!”

    – Everyone, on both sides

    1. he is going to give resistant clerks like Davis what they want. Licenses to same-sex couples will still be handed out,

      Umm, I don’t think that’s really giving “resistant” clerks like Davis what they want, do you?

  3. Licenses to same-sex couples will still be handed out, but Bevin says he’s going to arrange it so that clerks won’t have to put their names on them anymore.

    FTS! I still have to be aware of this blasphemy!

    /Kim Davis

  4. Seems reasonable on first blush, but I can’t help but wonder if the KY governor is legally allowed to make such an executive order?

    1. Well, if he won’t act I know someone who will.

      1. And he’s got a pen and a phone!

      2. Hitler?

    2. Its a form issued by a state agency. The language itself isn’t mandated by statute word for word.

      I looked at it. The only place the clerk’s name shows up is a statement that it is issued by the office of County Clerk Hateful Bigot. Easy enough to take that off and replace it with a statement that it is issued by the office of the County Clerk for Redneck Backwater County. I find it highly suspect that the previous Gov. said he couldn’t change it.

  5. Bevins / Conway was a classic shit sandwich / giant douche race, but Bevins is right on the money with this and his stated support for medical marijuana. I’m clueless as to whether Bevins can do this by executive order, or if it will trigger a slap fight in the courts.

    Although, once again, the criticism of Beshear rings hollow. Calling a special session for a vote that wouldn’t have impeached Davis or changed this law was just a waste of money.

    1. There’s no way that Bevin is as bad as Conway, I see this as a win for liberty overall.

      1. Time will tell. I hope Bevins is at least a fiscally minded governor and ignores the siren song of culture war.

        1. What do you think the Democrat would have done had he been elected? Raising taxes would have been the numero uno objective. It’s always that with a Democrat, always.

          1. I don’t trust any of the fuckers.

            1. Did you vote for Drew?

              1. I couldn’t bring myself to bother this time.

                1. Ditto, but if not-conway had been a specific choice, I would have taken the time.

                  He pisses me off both in rational and completely irrational ways.

                  1. Oh, no. Conway sucks.

                    Like I said, I hope Bevins lives up to campaign promises. Letting Omabacare go to the national exchange, med marijuana and removing Kim Davis from the headlines are all things I’m a fan of.

    2. It was his obligation to call the special session, imo. Even though he didnt have the votes. He would have gone to jail until he called it, if the judge had any guts.

  6. Come on now, this is KY we’re talking about. If anyone can just download a marriage cert and declare themselves married, how can we be sure that everyone won’t marry their cousin?

    1. I think the better question is whether the form will have a check box to indicate that the people getting married aren’t blood relatives.

      1. The state used to have a blood test to make sure you weren’t marrying a close blood relative. I swear that’s the truth, I’m not making it up.

        1. Indiana still does.

          1. They didn’t until most people from KY moved there so they could marry their cousin.

        2. *lazily plucks banjo*

          1. *strums guitar in call-and-answer manner*

        3. IS YOU KIN?

          __ YES __NO __ PROBABLY

        4. Some states require it if you are black or female. No kidding.

  7. I’d hit dat.

    1. He looks like a shop teacher. Check for any missing fingers.

  8. I’m of a positive mind on the Alabama’s proposal, even if it is driven by anti-gay attitudes

    Sigh. Perhaps its not driven purely (as you imply) by hatred and bigotry. Its entirely possible, you know, to not be a hateful bigot, and still think marriage is an institution that is historically (and properly) made available only to men and women. Seems to me that if you are going to accuse people of being hateful bigots, you should back that up with specific evidence of hateful bigotry. Can’t be hard to find, and then we can talk about whether it represents only a fringe, or a substantial number, of the folks who aren’t thrilled about gay marriage.

    Shifting gears a little: Its interesting, though, that we defend free speech by pointing to all the objectionable speech it protects, but nobody defends free association the same way. Its commonplace to point to the ACLU’s defense of the Illinois Nazis as an example of high principle in action, but nobody much even came to the defense of the bakery shop, etc. that have been attacked following the gay marriage victory.

    Perhaps that is why free association has been losing ground for decades, and shows no signs of reversing trend.

    1. Yeah Scott, it’s entirely possible to oppose gay marriage because you want to prevent people from doing something harmless that has literally no effect on you at all.

    2. What you say is true, I guess. I’d still wager that it is largely driven by anti-gay attitudes.

    3. Which is why Alabama was all for getting government out of marriage before the long, veiny cock of gay marriage was forcefully thrust down their pink and tender throats by the Harvard faggots on the Supreme Court.

      1. And this is one of them there WikiLIE-Apedia Lies:

        The Amendment 774 of 2006, also known as Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment, is an amendment to the Alabama Constitution that makes it unconstitutional for the state to recognize or perform same-sex marriages or civil unions. The referendum was approved by 81% of the voters.

        1. That doesn’t contradict what he said. It’s like pointing out that some group of people don’t support affirmative action as proof they’re racists.

          1. Make note of the “or civil unions” clause of that description. But I’m sure it’s a principled desire to protect the sanctity of marriage that caused all of these people to vote to use the force of the state to preclude any arrangement which would permit homosexuals to enjoy the same privileges that heterosexual couples take for granted.

          2. Alabama could have removed itself from recognizing marriages at any point, but only did so after they were going to have to issue gay marriage licenses.

            But, yeah. Means nothing.

            1. At some point you have to accept that getting what you want is more important than seeing the people you hate suffer.

              Or else you really are no better than your enemies.

              1. I don’t care about them suffering. But to act like this is a pro-liberty move on their point is bogus. Praise them for their accidental pro-liberty stance and move on. To act like this is anything other than Alabama slipping and managing to fall on the right thing is just bullshit.

              2. At some point you have to accept that getting what you want is more important than seeing the people you hate suffer.

                That assumes that seeing the people that hate suffer isn’t the main thing that you want.

          3. “It’s like pointing out that some group of people don’t support affirmative action as proof they’re racists.”

            What? You mean, they aren’t?

            Say it ain’t so!

            (from an old white guy who has watched this play out since the 1970s….and sometimes even suffered for it…..and currently makes a living having to deal with government mandates for DBE inclusion – Disadvantaged Business Enterprises – which includes reporting on the race and gender of every contractor we engage.)

      2. So what? They could be the biggest bigots since bigotry came to Bigot Town but if what they want advances the cause of liberty, then it doesn’t matter.

        Personally, I’d support it just to put the lie to the “SSM = forced cake baking” argument that many people around here have made. Because you can bet damn well those lawsuits aren’t going to end if/when marriage licensing goes away. It’s almost like they were two distinct issues all along…

        1. put the lie to the “SSM = forced cake baking”

          Wrong. Gay people clearly went back in time and passed the Civil Rights act knowing that they could sue Christian bakers in 50 years. This is so obvious.

    4. Seems to me that if you are going to accuse people of being hateful bigots, you should back that up with specific evidence of hateful bigotry.

      Yeah, yeah, yeah. I believe we’ve been over this. Supporting traditional marriage is in itself specific evidence of hateful bigotry because hateful bigotry is the only explanation for not supporting same sex marriage. There simply is no other explanation. And if you give another explanation you will be shouted down and accused of bigotry. Forget what the person says. Attack them personally. It works every time.

      1. hateful bigotry is the only explanation for not supporting same sex marriage.

        Whew. Its a good thing I’m not opposed to gay marriage, then. Just the way it happened, and, because of the way it happened, the resulting damage to the institutions of liberty (federalism, freedom of association, etc.).

        Which were totally unforeseeable. Came out of the blue. No one saw them coming!

        1. No one except the bigots. And they were wrong because none of that was intended.

          1. Yet the many attitudes here seem to fail to understand the true definition of bigotry. Is hateful attention. given to any group. bigotry? Seems like I pick that expression of bigotry up in many of the comments, both pro and con, that I am reading here. Calling anyone a bigot exudes bigotry, itself!

    5. Does “anti-gat attitudes” necessarily mean hateful bigotry? Is the Christian who thinks that gay marriage is an abomination but hates the sin/loves the sinner a hateful bigot? I’d say that in many cases, the answer is no, but those are still anti-gay attitudes.

      1. Does “anti-gat attitudes” necessarily mean hateful bigotry?

        Nah. That’s why I said “implied”.

  9. Hold on, hold on, HOLD ON! Is this Bevins guy suggesting that reducing the role of government in a private relationship or arrangement will not only not be negative but could have a positive affect? Cuz, if so that’s just CRAZY TALK!!!!!!

    1. No, I think he’s just changing the wording on a form. Marriage will still work in exactly the same way in KY.

    2. Getting the government out of anything is clearly racist and intended to put people of color and wiminz back into chains. Just ask any lefty.

  10. He says he’ll be doing it via executive order in December when he takes office, something Beshear previously said was not possible.

    Shit, I’ve forgotten which team I’m on in this fight. Am I supposed to be cheering the guy for his taking a necesssary and proper forceful action or denouncing him for an unconstitutional and unlawful action in cramming something down our throats? Is it possible to just say I don’t give a shit about why, I am opposed to executive orders being used to bypass legislative functions?

    1. Way to be a gay-batin, misogynist, racist baby-seal killer, Jerryskids.

    2. You’re supposed to support any action, lawful or unlawful, that supports same sex marriage. Anything less is proof that you’re a hateful bigot.

    3. I am opposed to executive orders being used to bypass legislative functions?

      The statute just says there has to be a uniform form. Nobody is changing the statute, so the legislative function is intact.

      The form is drafted by an executive agency. They can make the necessary changes any time they want.

      So, you can be opposed as you want to executive orders being used to bypass legislative functions, and still support this change to a phrase in a form.

      1. The change they want to make is nothing more than this:

        The form has a statement a statement that it is issued by the office of County Clerk Hateful Bigot.

        Easy enough to take that off and replace it with a statement that it is issued by the office of the County Clerk for Redneck Backwater County.

  11. The government should NEVER have gotten involved in marriages (actually, religion should have never gotten involved either, but now that they have the opportunity, they can butt out as well). The personal living arrangements of adults is the business of nobody but the people involved.

    1. Well, aren’t you the hateful bigot, trying to deny people of alternativity the blessings of state approval.

    2. History is full of things that never should have happened, yet will never change.

    3. ^^^^^^This!!!!

      The whole gay marriage debate has shifted the focus away from the state’s role. Getting the state out of our individual choices that harm no one, should be the focus. Not whether Pete can “marry” Bob.

      (As a twice married person, I’ve never quite understood why some want this “privilege” in the first place. It ain’t nirvana, I assure you.)

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  13. When I see us wasting our energy debating this issue at this level, I just sigh. When are we going to look at this from 40,000 feet and address the real issue?

    Why is the government involved in marriage at all? Let’s get the state out of marriage.

    And, if as many have argued, there are legal “privileges” that are bestowed on marriage that the mere unmarried do not have, let’s get rid of those privileges or extend them to all, irrespective of matrimonial state.

    Put marriage back in religion whence it came. Get the state out of our lives.

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