Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin on Tuesday
issued an executive order removing the names of county clerks from
the state's marriage licenses.
The move follows a protracted legal
battle over issuing such licenses to gay and lesbian couples by Rowan
County clerk Kim Davis.
Davis was jailed for nearly a week for
refusing to comply with a judge's ruling ordering her to issue
marriage licenses to all qualified couples. Davis declined to issue
the licenses citing religious reasons.
Former Governor Steve Beshear, a
Democrat, had refused Davis' request for her name to be removed from
“I can't put my name on a license
that doesn't represent what God ordained marriage to be,” Davis
said earlier this year.
Bevin's order states that its purpose
is to “ensure that the sincerely held religious beliefs of all
Kentuckians are honored.”
The American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU), which represented the plaintiffs who sued Davis, said in a
statement that Bevin does not have the authority to strike the
clerks' names from the licenses.
“The requirement that the county
clerk's name appear on marriage licenses is prescribed by Kentucky
law and is not subject to unilateral change by the governor –
conceded by the previous administration in court filing,” the ACLU