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Governor removes names of clerks from marriage licenses

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin removes clerks' names from marriage licenses to protect beliefs

Governor removes names of clerks from marriage licenses

FRANKFORT, Kentucky (AP) -- Kentucky's governor on Tuesday ordered the state to prepare new marriage licenses that do not include the names of county clerks in an attempt to protect the religious beliefs of local elected officials.

The executive order from Republican Gov. Matt Bevin comes after Kim Davis, the Rowan County clerk, spent five days in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on her religious beliefs. Davis said she could not issue the licenses because they had her name on them.

On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled gay marriage bans are unconstitutional. Most officials across the U.S. follow the Supreme Court's landmark ruling that legalized gay marriage.

"Today, I took action to uphold several commitments I made during my campaign so that we can implement real solutions that will help the people of Kentucky," Bevin said in a news release.

Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins, whose office serves the state's second largest city, Lexington, said he believes Bevin exceeded his authority. He sees marriage licenses as a civil transaction and believes the clerk's names should remain on them for the historical record, he said.

"Hundreds of years from now, these licenses will be used by genealogists and researchers. Having the names of all the parties involves is very important when you're talking about a permanent record, for purely practical purposes," he said.

It's unclear how Bevin's order will affect a federal lawsuit brought by four couples against Davis. One of Davis' deputy clerks has been issuing altered marriage licenses to all eligible couples since September. They do not include Davis' name or the name of the county.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the four couples, has asked U.S. District Judge David Bunning to order Davis to reissue the licenses. Bunning has not made a decision yet.