The group was seeking a meeting with the governor to ask him for a special legislative session so that lawmakers can enact accommodations for county clerks like Davis who refuse to provide marriage licenses for same-sex couples because of their sincerely held religious beliefs.
However, the governor refused to meet with the group, and has repeatedly stated that he refuses to spend taxpayer money to call the legislature into special session.
Instead the group met with the governor’s chief of staff, Larry Bond.
Beshear spokesman Terry Sebastian said Bond told the group that the governor has no legal authority to relieve county clerks of their statutory duties through an executive order.
Sebastian, the Communications Director for the Office of Governor Beshear, issued the following statement:
The Governor’s chief of staff, Larry Bond, met with a group of ministers today. The Governor’s office is always happy to meet with community leaders and citizens and hear their ideas. Mr. Bond reminded the group, however, that the legislature has placed the authority to issue marriage licenses on county clerks by statute, and the Governor has no legal authority to relieve them of their statutory duty by executive order. The General Assembly will convene in just 12 weeks and can make any statutory changes it deems necessary at that time. The Governor sees no need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money calling a special session of the General Assembly when 117 of 120 county clerks are doing their jobs.
The Rev. Randy Smith, a spokesman for the anti-gay Christian group, said the pastors were not pleased with the response.
Bottom line: Governor Beshear is right to refuse to meet with the anti-gay pastors, and is right to refuse to call a special legislative session to make accommodations for Davis. As for Davis, she needs to do her job or resign.