Monday, June 29, 2015

Family Foundation Press Release: State county clerks should not have to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples


June 29, 2015   

LEXINGTON, KY— "If it was okay for Jack Conway to do it, it should be okay for county clerks," said a spokesman for the group that pushed for Kentucky traditional marriage law that was struck down by Friday's U. S. Supreme Court decision. On Friday Gov. Steve Beshear told county clerks across the state that they were required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of Kentucky's Constitution. The Family Foundation said today that county clerks whose conscience would be violated by following the Governor's order should consider their options.

"There are county clerks out there who have a religious objection to same-sex marriage," said Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst with the Family Foundation. "They should be able to do what our own attorney general did last year when he refused to defend Kentucky's marriage law on conscience grounds. County clerks have consciences too."

In fact, said Cothran, county clerks are on more solid ground than Attorney General Conway because they would not have to violate their oath of office to refuse to issue such licenses. "While Jack Conway violated his oath of office in not defending Kentucky voters, county clerks would actually be honoring theirs. County clerks take an oath to both the federal and state constitutions. The U.S. Constitution nowhere says anything about same-sex marriage and the Kentucky Constitution expressly prohibits it. In refusing to issue licenses, they would actually be complying with the constitutions to which they swore their oaths."

"If the Governor is so concerned about public officials doing their duty, why didn't he write the same kind of letter to Jack Conway that he wrote to county clerks?" asked Cothran.

Cothran also pointed out that there is 25-day period following Supreme Court decisions in which a request for rehearing can be filed, a technical fact that could also affect what county clerks can do.



Old Rebel said...

I can't support this, no matter how well-intentioned. We did the same thing in North Carolina, and it's been a pathetic failure. IMHO, it's a spineless whimper.

What we need are elected officials who will stand on principle. Nowhere in the Constitution do the people of the sovereign States delegate the power to regulate marriage to DC. That is a retained power that we, the people, should assert.

KyCobb said...


Are you going to pay the attorneys fees that County Clerks who follow your advice and get sued will owe to the ACLU for blatantly violating the law? Because, like it or not, that is what a Supreme Court opinion is.

Rob Mattheu said...

The clerks will be sued and lose, and rightfully so. If you don't want to do a public servant's job, don't run for office.

Martin Cothran said...


I see you are of the "might makes right persuasion" as well. You and KyCobb should take goose-stepping lessons together. But, just out of curiosity, is this your argument?

Anyone who is a public servant should lose his job if he does not do his job
John Doe is a public serve who is not doing his job
Therefore John Doe should lose his job

KyCobb said...


If you are referring to Jack Conway, he had no obligation to file an appeal of the District Court's ruling on same-sex marriage; it was well within his discretion to determine an appeal would be futile. And he was right. Kim Davis has been sued. Since you advised her to break the law, are you going to pay the ACLU's attorneys fees that she will owe when she loses?

Rob Mattheu said...

You really want to talk about logical arguments here? Dig deeper. Let's assume that these clerks are the denomination of Christian that feels gay marriage is wrong. I have not yet met a Christian of this stripe who feels that people who are faiths other than their own are on the path to what is holy. So if they're logical and thinking human beings, how can they sign off on any marriages for Muslims, Jews, Atheists, Agnostics, or any of the many denominations of Christianity that they feel are "wrong"?