Thousands gather in Frankfort for religious freedom rally - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Thousands gather in Frankfort for religious freedom rally

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) – Several thousand people gathered around Kentucky’s state capitol on Saturday afternoon for a religious freedom rally.

According to organizers with The Family Foundation, the goal of the rally was to support three Kentucky county clerks who have refused to issue any marriage licenses following a United States Supreme Court ruling. The ruling found that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional.

“The Supreme Court decision on marriage, now final, should not be used to erode any of the cornerstone birthright of every American - religious liberty,” said Kent Ostrander, executive director of The Family Foundation.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, Whitley County Clerk Kay Schwartz and Casey County Clerk Casey Davis all received rousing applause from the thousands of people in attendance at the rally.

“I think it's an injustice, and I think we need to be aware of that injustice,” Casey Davis said. ”We should fight for justice.”

Those clerks are now not issuing any licenses, which led Gov. Steve Beshear to order clerks to issue those licenses or resign.

“When you accepted this job and took this oath, it puts you on a different level,” Beshear said in July. “And you have official duties now that state law puts on you.”

Beshear and Casey Davis met in Frankfort in July to discuss the issue of marriage licenses. After the meeting, Beshear said in a statement that he respects Casey Davis’ right to personal beliefs, but expressed the message that he believes it is Davis’ job to issue those licenses, regardless of gender.

“I'm really troubled by his statement ‘do the honorable thing and resign,’” Casey Davis said. “I don't know if it's ever an honorable thing for us to resign what we deeply believe. There's no honor in quitting.”

Casey Davis has thus far avoided any lawsuits himself. However, Kim Davis is facing four lawsuits for refusing to issue marriage licenses. In turn, she has filed a lawsuit against Beshear saying his order infringes upon her right to religious freedom.

To this point, when asked about his personal beliefs on same-sex marriage, Beshear has declined to answer. However, he has stood by the Supreme Court decision in the Oberegfell case since it was first ruled on.

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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