By Tal Kopan
WASHINGTON — Christmas may have come early for Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, in the form of a gift from her governor.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin on Tuesday issued an executive order removing county clerks’ names from marriage licenses, a response to the polarizing clerk’s fight to not sign licenses for same-sex couples.
“To ensure that the sincerely held religious beliefs of all Kentuckians are honored, Executive Order 2015-048 directs the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives to issue a revised marriage license form to the offices of all Kentucky County Clerks. The name of the County Clerk is no longer required to appear on the form,” the governor’s office said Tuesday.
Davis caught the nation’s attention this summer when she refused to sign licenses for same-sex couples seeking to wed after the Supreme Court ruled that laws against gay marriage were unconstitutional.
She spent five days in jail after a federal judge held her in contempt of court. She became an icon for the anti-gay marriage movement, and a subject of derision for those who supported the Supreme Court’s decision.
The matter was resolved when a judge was satisfied Davis would not interfere with her deputy clerks’ issuing of licenses to same-sex couples, but she refused to have her name on the licenses, citing her beliefs.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky was displeased with Bevin’s order, saying the legality of marriage licenses in the state remains unresolved.
“Gov. Bevin’s executive action has added to the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over marriage licensing in Kentucky,” Legal Director William Sharp said in a statement. “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.”