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State Capitol

Kentucky Senate Committee Approves Bill to Establish Two Marriage License Forms


Legislation calling for two separate marriage license forms at Kentucky county clerk’s offices has won the backing of a senate committee.  The proposal comes five months after Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.  Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer says his republican led chamber has given thoughtful consideration to the issue.  “We made this one of our priority bills, Senate Bill 5. And you would have thought, ‘Oh they’re gonna rush that bill through and try to get it down to the House,’” said Thayer.  “We did exactly the opposite.”

Leslie County Clerk James Lewis testified in committee. Lewis said he doesn’t feel conflicted over this issue.  “I do my job, what the law is,” he said.  “This is an accommodation for a lot of clerks and deputies who do have a strong objection.”

One form would note ‘first party’ and ‘second party’ and the other would note ‘bride’ and ‘groom’.  Chris Hartman with the Fairness Coalition would prefer one document for all couples.  “We would prefer to see one marriage license so there’s not even the appearance of disparate treatment,” Hartman said.  “But at the end of the day, all couples are still gonna be able to get valid, legal marriage licenses in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. That’s what’s important to us.”

Under the bill, the names of county clerks would be removed from the forms.?

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