County clerks in Kentucky may soon have the legal right to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Republican Reps. David Meade and Stan Lee have sponsored a bill that would allow government employees to refuse to perform this portion of their job, if they claim marriage equality violates their religious beliefs, reports the Associated Press. The bill would also give added protections to religious leaders who decline to marry gay and lesbian couples. It will be voted on by the state legislature in early 2016.
"This proposal simply seeks to further protect religious freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment," Lee stated in a press release.
Two county clerks in Kentucky, Kim Davis and Casey Davis, have both cited religious reasons in denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Their actions follow the June Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which found that same-sex marriages must be performed and recognized nationwide.
The Rowan County clerk ceased giving licenses to all couples following the Supreme Court verdict, while the clerk in Casey County continues to defy direct orders from the governor to comply with the Supreme Court's ruling or resign.
Two same-sex and two opposite-sex couples, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union’s Kentucky affiliate, filed suit in federal court against one of the rogue clerks, Kim Davis of Rowan County. The trial, presided by judge David Bunning, resumes Monday.
“It’s a deep-rooted conviction; my conscience won't allow me to do that,” Kim Davis said about her decision. “It goes against everything I hold dear, everything sacred in my life.”
Davis made headlines recently after she did not issue a license to David V. Moore and his fiancé, who visited her office with a copy of the Obergefell decision and the governor's order to comply with that ruling in hand. A video of the same-sex couple being met by police at the office went viral earlier this month.