Gov. Beshear did not follow the law by offering someone to substitute for her, making her take her stand . . . and take the fall.
In spite of Gov. Bevin’s public praise for Kim Davis during his campaign, he has argued in court, as represented by his attorneys, that “county clerks must follow the law and issue marriage licenses to qualified couples,” she “alone chose not to follow the law,” and “cannot claim to represent the Commonwealth when she defies that law.”
That was the revelation in the Lexington Herald-Leader’s Jan. 30 article, Gov. Bevin’s lawyers say Kim Davis failed to do her job as clerk, must pay the bill.
The Family Foundation contacted Bevin’s Press Secretary seeking comment and received a statement from his legal counsel, Steve Pitt, assuring us that the attorneys representing Bevin’s position “have taken no position as to whether Ms. Davis acted unconstitutionally” and “Gov. Bevin does not believe that she has done so and continues to support Ms. Davis’s actions.”
Regardless, the statement failed to specifically address or explain the repeated claims, contained in several legal filings, that Kim Davis “chose not to follow the law,” violated her “statutory duties,” and that the Rowan County Clerk’s Office “should be deterred from engaging in conduct that violates civil rights.”
Nor does the statement address the representation made by Bevin’s attorneys that he maintains Gov. Beshear’s position that “county clerks must follow the law and issue marriage licenses to qualified couples.” In the Jan. 31 oral arguments before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, Bevin’s attorneys continued to represent these positions as those of Bevin. The court is weighing who should pay the legal fees.
How Did We Get Here?
The entire situation has arisen because former Gov. Beshear refused to abide by the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2013. Rather than reasonably accommo-dating their sincerely held religious beliefs, Beshear told Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, Casey County Clerk Casey Davis (no relation), and 58 others to do their job or resign.
Kentucky law requires the government to use the least restrictive means to accomplish any action that limits the religious liberties of its citizens and employees.
In fact, the question of the County Clerks had already been contemplated by the Legislative Research Commission before the act’s passage.
The LRC’s Local Mandate Fiscal Impact Estimate said: “the least restrictive alternative required of the local government may be… significant, for example, if it requires hiring additional staff or paying overtime for other staff to do a job that an employee declines to do because of religious beliefs.”
A ruling is expected in the next few months from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. At that time Kim Davis will know whether the state, her County Clerk’s office or she personally will be held liable for the court costs.
For many Kentuckians, she was taking a stand for them and their religious liberties.