Kentucky Clerks Blocking All Marriages

Legal experts say they can expect to be sued
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2015 7:00 AM CDT
Kentucky Clerks Blocking All Marriages
Tim Love, center, holds up the first same sex marriage licence issued in Jefferson County Kentucky as his partner Larry Ysunza, center right, looks on Friday, June 26, 2015, in Louisville, Ky.   (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Clerks in at least five Kentucky counties are refusing to grant marriage licenses to gay and heterosexual couples, citing their beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman. "I have always tried to be fair to everyone and treat everyone the same," a clerk tells the Courier-Journal. "If I can't do it for one, I can't for the other. I respect their position—the gay community's—that that is how they want to live … but I would ask for for the same respect for my decision." Adds another: "Marriage is ordained by God to be a man and a woman." Legal experts say they can be sued.

Says one of the lawyers for the Kentucky plaintiffs in last week's Supreme Court ruling: "Personal disapproval, whatever the reason, has never relieved a clerk from performing the duties of her office, and it shouldn't now." The clerks' decision comes after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said clerks could deny licenses to gay couples, an assertion presidential hopeful Ted Cruz has since backed up. Cruz tells NPR that states not named in the Supreme Court ruling—only Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee are mentioned—don't need to abide by the ruling. (More gay marriage stories.)

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