Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear orders Kentucky County Clerks to rec - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear orders Kentucky County Clerks to recognize same sex marriages

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has issued a statement and a letter ordering Kentucky Court Clerks to recognize same-sex marriages.

The governor's statement reads as follows:

"The fractured laws across the country concerning same-sex marriage had created an unsustainable and unbalanced legal environment, wherein citizens were treated differently depending on the state in which they resided. That situation was unfair, no matter which side of the debate you may support.

Kentuckians, and indeed all Americans, deserved a final determination of what the law in this country would be, and that is the reason we pursued an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Today's opinion finally provides that clarity.

All Cabinets of the executive branch have been directed to immediately alter any policies necessary to implement the decision from the Supreme Court.

Effective today, Kentucky will recognize as valid all same-sex marriages performed in other states and in Kentucky. I have instructed the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives to provide revised marriage license forms to our county clerks for immediate use, beginning today. We will report additional expected policy changes in the coming days."

The letter the governor sent to the Kentucky County Clerks reads as follows: (Click HERE to view a .pdf of the letter.)

Dear Kentucky County Clerks:

Today, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision regarding the constitutionality of states' bans on same-sex marriage. The Court struck down those laws, finding that they were invalid under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

As elected officials, each of us has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Kentucky. The Obergefell decision makes plain that the Constitution requires that Kentucky -- and all states -- must license and recognize the marriages of same-sex couples. Neither your oath nor the Supreme Court dictates what you must believe. But as elected officials, they do prescribe how we must act.

Effective today, Kentucky will recognize as valid all same sex marriages performed in other states and in Kentucky. In accordance with my instruction, all executive branch agencies are already working to make any operational changes that will be necessary to implement the Supreme Court decision. Now that same-sex couples are entitled to the issuance of a marriage license, the Department of Libraries and Archives will be sending a gender-neutral form to you today, along with instructions for its use.

You should consult with county attorney on any particular aspects related to the implementation of the Supreme Court's decision. While there are certainly strongly held views on both sides of this issue, I know that Kentuckians are law-abiding people and will respect the rule of law. After all, the things that abide us as people are much stronger than the things that divide us.

Thank you in advance for the valuable services you continue to render to the people of the Commonwealth.



Steven L. Beshear

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