Republican Kentucky Gov.-elect Matt Bevin said he plans to sign an executive order removing county clerks' names from state marriage licenses in the hope of avoiding more controversies like the one that arose a few months ago when Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Reuters reported. Bevin will be sworn in to office Dec. 8.
In his first media availability since the win Tuesday, Bevin said he hopes the executive order will protect the religious beliefs of officials who are opposed to gay marriage, WLKY reported. Bevin swept to a surprise victory in Kentucky’s gubernatorial election by upsetting Democratic candidate Jack Conway to become the state’s second Republican governor in 44 years.
“One thing I will take care of right away is, we will remove the names of the county clerks from the marriage form,” he said to reporters in the Capitol's rotunda Friday.
Davis garnered international media attention when she was jailed for five days after defying a court order and refusing to sign licenses for same-sex couples because of her Christian beliefs. She attempted in September to strike her name and office from the marriage license forms, and had repeatedly pushed Gov. Steve Beshear to remove clerks’ names.
On Thursday, Davis lost a bid to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to delay issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Her attorneys have made several appeals to the order from U.S. District Judge David Bunning to issue the licenses.
Bevin also told reporters Friday that he plans to dismantle Kynect, the state’s health insurance exchange, saying “it adds no value” because the state can participate in the federal health exchange. The switch would mean Kentuckians would have to pay a 3.5 percent surcharge on insurance policies, as opposed to the 1 percent surcharge they have been paying for Kynect since the Affordable Care Act was launched in 2013.