Election boosts county clerk in marriage battle

The county clerk in Kentucky who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples has been given a boost by the unexpected election of a conservative governor.


Republican Matt Bevin pulled off a stunning victory on Tuesday and will be inaugurated as governor early in 2016.


His defeat of Democrat Jack Conway, 53-44 percent, makes him just the second Republican governor of Kentucky in more than 40 years.


Bevin, regarded as an outsider, unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Mitch McConnell in a U.S. Senate race last year. Conway is the sitting attorney general.


Bevin’s election could have a significant impact on the case of Kim Davis, the Rowan County clerk who was jailed by U.S. District Judge David Bunning for nearly a week for refusing his order to issue licenses to same-sex duos in violation of her Christian faith.


Even before the June Supreme Court decision establishing “same-sex marriage,” Davis had been lobbying Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, and lawmakers for a simple accommodation to enable her to avoid violating her religious principles.


The governor, instead, ordered her to issue the licenses or resign from her elected position.


Bevin, in contrast, visited Davis while she was jailed by Bunning and proposed a plan to accommodate her religious beliefs.


Davis said of Bevin’s election in a statement released by Liberty Counsel: “I congratulate Matt Bevin on his win. I am ecstatic. He is such a genuine and caring person. I will be forever thankful that he came to visit me while I was in jail. At a clerks’ meeting he hugged me and said he was praying for me. I am looking forward to his leadership as our new governor.”


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