Don't worry, Bluegrass State rump rangers, this bill will be DOA in the Democrat-controlled Kentucky House of Representatives. Which is a shame, because it would be cynically entertaining to take bets on how quickly such a law would have been nuked in the nearest federal court by the Gaystapo. My guess would have been under twenty-four hours.
- Me, a month ago
Here are words I have little opportunity to write in this or any other space: I was (sort of) wrong.
And even then, I'm, frankly, stunned:
With the blessing of Kentucky's Republican governor [Tea Partier Matt Bevin], the State House passed a bill to create one marriage license form for [homosexual] and [normal] couples in an effort to defuse controversy over [sodo]marriages.
The proposal is a response to Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who spent five days in jail [as a political prisoner] last year for refusing to issue "marriage" licenses to [homosexual] "couples". Davis said she could not issue the licenses because they had her name on them.
The bill that cleared the Democrat-led House without debate Friday proposes that a marriage license applicant would have the option of checking "bride," ''groom" or "spouse" beside their name. It would not have the clerk's name on it.
The next step for the measure is a return to the Republican-led State Senate, which passed a starkly different version last month that proposed separate marriage license forms for [homosexual] and [normal] couples.
That's actually not a bad compromise. The Kentucky House version accomplishes the equivalent things that the Senate version does by "segregating" the options on one form instead of two and not requiring a county clerk signature. Saves paper, too, I suppose. I'm astonished that Democrats even bothered to try to meet their Republican counterparts on the other side of the State capitol anything close to halfway.
But note that it had Governor Bevin's blessing, which means either, depending upon your point of view, that (1) he's learning the political game fast, including recognizing a victory when he sees one instead of holding out for everything and losing, or (2) he's "sold out" to the "establishment".
I vote for (1):
Governor Matt Bevin, a social conservative elected last year, publicly entered the debate this week by endorsing the single-form version in a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Darryl Owens, a Democrat from Louisville.
"I offer my support for a single form and look forward to signing this legislation and allowing our county clerks to follow the law without being forced to violate their own conscience," the governor wrote.
Soon after taking office, Bevin ordered the State to prepare new marriage licenses that do not include the names of county clerks. The executive order was an attempt to protect the religious beliefs of Davis and other local elected officials.
"Stand fast when you can, compromise when you need to". And this is a damn good compromise, under the circumstances.
Would that all Tea Partiers would care to be this canny - and mature.