Kentucky's new Republican governor is ready to accommodate antigay Rowan County clerk Kim Davis's request to keep her name off marriage licenses for same-sex couples.
In fact, Governor-elect Matt Bevin plans to sign an executive order that will remove all clerks' names from legal marriage licenses in Kentucky, reports Reuters.
"One thing I will take care of right away is we will remove the names of the county clerks from the marriage form," Bevin told reporters Friday at the state Capitol in Frankfort.
"That is going to be done," Bevin continued, according to Louisville TV station WLKY. "The argument that that can't be done is baloney -- we've already changed those forms three times, for crying out loud."
Bevin, whose election last week makes him only the second Republican to lead Kentucky in the past 38 years, offers a sharp point of contrast to outgoing Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat who outright rejected pleas from Davis and her attorneys at the right-wing Liberty Counsel to remove Davis's name from the marriage licenses of same-sex couples. Beshear and Davis are still locked in a legal battle stemming from Davis's claims that the governor violated her religious freedom by ordering all county clerks to abide by the Supreme Court's June ruling mandating nationwide marriage equality.
After repeatedly defying a federal judge's order that she perform the full duties of her elected position and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Davis was found in contempt of court and jailed for five days in early September.
Davis contends that her Christian beliefs make it impossible for her to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and she has thus far refused to sign her name to any such licenses. One of her deputy clerks has issued all marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as Davis has refused to sign off on them -- bringing the legal validity of those licenses into question.
But that won't be an issue if Governor-elect Bevin makes good on his promise to change the format of Kentucky's marriage licenses entirely. There's little reason to believe Bevin won't follow through, as he made his socially conservative attitudes a staple of his campaign. He has also pledged to roll back Kentucky's Medicaid expansion, which the outgoing Democratic administration implemented as part of the state's participation in the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare."
Bevin, a businessman who at the time was a long-shot candidate for governor, reportedly met with Davis the day she was released from jail. His support for Davis became so central to his candidacy that he even handed out postcards that described him as "the only candidate for governor that has stood up for traditional marriage and religious liberty," according to The Washington Post.
Bevin won election with 53 percent of the vote, according to the Associated Press; he takes office on December 8.