Kentucky, marriage and religious belief

MOREHEAD, Ky – Kentucky’s Rowan County clerk Kim Davis is in court today and continues to make headlines as she pushes back against state laws. On June 26, Davis, a born-again Christian, stopped issuing marriage licenses just hours after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of same-sex marriage laws. She has repeatedly said that issuing licenses to same-sex couples violates her “sincerely held” religious beliefs. Davis’ personal protest has now earned her national attention as she openly defies state marriage laws. On Sept.1, the ACLU of Kentucky filed two motions asking, “the court to hold Davis in contempt of court for failing to comply with its previous ruling and to clarify that Davis must issue marriage licenses to everybody.” Steven R. Shapiro, legal director if the ACLU, said:
It is unfortunate that we’ve been compelled to take further action today to ensure that the people of Rowan County can obtain the marriage licenses they’re entitled to receive from their County Clerk’s office.  The law is clear and the courts have spoken.

Looking closer at Kentucky’s New Religious Freedom Restoration Act

It is official. This July Kentucky’s brand new Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) will go into effect. The state’s legislature put its final stamp of approval on the bill when it overturned, by a wide margin, Governor Steve Beshear’s veto on March 26th. Originally called House Bill 279 (HB279), Kentucky’s RFRA states:

Government shall not substantially burden a person’s freedom of religion. The right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief may not be substantially burdened unless the government proves by clear and convincing evidence that it has a compelling governmental interest in infringing the specific act or refusal to act and has used the least restrictive means to further that interest.