Gov. Beshear: No special session to discuss marriage licenses

Gov. Beshear: No special session on marriage licenses

(KFVS) - Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear said he will not call lawmakers to Frankfort for a special session to discuss how marriage licenses are issued in the Commonwealth.

"There are obviously strong feelings on both sides of the issue," the Democratic governor said in a statement. "But the United State Supreme Court has spoken and same-sex marriage is legal in Kentucky and the rest of the United States."

Some county clerks have been refusing to issue marriage licenses to any couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, in the wake of the high court's ruling saying the decision is in conflict with their religious beliefs.

"Regardless of whatever their personal feelings might be, the overwhelming majority of county clerks are following the law and doing their job...the courts will deal appropriately with the two or three clerks who are acting otherwise," Beshear said.

Casey County Clerk Casey Davis reportedly requested a meeting with Beshear to ask him to consider calling lawmakers back for a special session. Davis wants legislators to pass a law that would allow couples to purchase marriage licenses online.

Beshear said calling lawmakers back to Frankfort would be a burden on Kentucky taxpayers.

"It's time for everyone to take a deep breath," Beshear said. "There's no need to spend 60,000 dollars a day of taxpayers' dollars calling a special session of the General Assembly."

Beshear said if there is a need to make any adjustments, those changes can be discussed during the 2016 session in January.

Below is Governor Beshear's full statement:

“There are obviously strong feelings on both sides of this issue, but the United States Supreme Court has spoken and same-sex marriage is now legal in Kentucky and the rest of the United States. Regardless of whatever their personal feelings might be, the overwhelming majority of county clerks are following the law and carrying out their duty to issue marriage licenses regardless of gender, and the courts will deal appropriately with the two or three clerks who are acting otherwise. Same-sex couples are now being married in Kentucky and such marriages from other states are now being recognized under Kentucky law. This Administration continues to identify statutes which must now be interpreted in a different way and is making the appropriate changes. For example, the Department of Revenue has put out new guidance in the area of taxation and the Administrative Office of the Courts has issued new guidance on changing names on driver’s licenses. It’s time for everyone to take a deep breath. There is no need to spend $60,000 a day of taxpayers’ dollars calling a special session of the General Assembly, and therefore I will not be calling a special session on this topic. If there are any minor changes needed to clarify the language of statutes, any such changes can be made in the 2016 legislative session in January.”

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