PRESTONSBURG – You won’t find Floyd County Clerk Chris Waugh’s name on the letter sent Wednesday asking the governor for a special session to address same-sex marriage license, but don’t let that fool you.
Waugh is very much in support of a special legislative session, but was unable to send his support in the letter, and had a pretty good reason. He was busy waiting for his grandson to be born.
“My grandson was being born and I didn’t see the email about sending the letter,” Waugh said Thursday. “But I definitely think a special session would be helpful. I think there are solutions that could solve some of this.”
Gov. Steve Beshear said no to the request from 57 of the state’s 120 county clerks who backed the letter sent to him Wednesday asking for the session.
“Regardless of whatever their personal feelings might be, the overwhelming majority of county clerks are following the law and carrying out their duty to issue marriage licenses regardless of gender, and the courts will deal appropriately with the two or three clerks who are acting otherwise,” Beshear said Wednesday. “It’s time for everyone to take a deep breath. There is no need to spend $60,000 a day of taxpayers’ dollars calling a special session of the general assembly, and therefore I will not be calling a special session on this topic.”
Waugh would gladly see him reconsider.
“There are a lot of ideas that could be brought up, and it would save a lot of lawsuits taking place,” Waugh said. “One thing that’s been talked about would be to issue the marriage license, regardless of what side of the aisle the couple is on, to the person performing the marriage. Clearly the people who have agreed to perform the ceremony doesn’t have a problem with it.”
Beshear has said that any minor changes could be dealt with during the 2016 legislative session, adding that, for now, clerks should simply follow the law.
The United States Supreme court ruled same-sex marriage legal nationwide last month.
Since that time, clerks across Kentucky have found themselves on either one side or the other, with some, such as Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, flatly refusing a couple a licenses in her office, citing religious objections. Davis has been sued by the ACLU in connection with that refusal.
Following his denying the clerks request for session, Beshear did meet Thursday with Casey County Clerk Casey Davis, who has offered an idea for creating a system that would allow clerks to issue marriage licenses online.