Senate passes marriage license legislation

02/18/2016 08:06 PM

FRANKFORT – The Kentucky state Senate passed a bill on Thursday which would create two different marriage license forms; one for straight couples and one for same-sex couples, with the name of the county clerk, or deputy clerks, removed from the form.

Senate Bill 5, sponsored by Sen. Steve West, R-Paris, passed by a vote of 30-8 with three Democrats, Sen. Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, Sen. Dennis Parrett, D-Elizabethtown, and Sen. Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson voting yes. Two Republicans, Sen. Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville, and Sen. Wil Schroder, R-Wilder cast no votes.

West said that he consulted with a number of county clerks on the bill, including Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who was jailed for five days last September for refusing to issue marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages.

“We gathered all of the interested parties into discussion,” West said. “Under advisement of the County Clerks Association at the time, we chose the dual option.”

Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, proposed an amendment to have only one form for “bride,” “groom,” or “party,” rather than the proposed two forms.

McGarvey’s amendment failed on a 15-23 vote.

Sen. Reggie Thomas, D-Lexington, who voted for the amendment and against the legislation, felt that having two forms could be interpreted as discrimination against the gay population of the state.

“This is all about our own views of gay marriage,” Thomas said. “I’m prepared to vote against bill number 5 because I abhor any kind of discrimination or bias, or prejudice against any group.”

Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, objected, saying that the single form would be disrespectful to the majority of Kentuckians who respect “traditional” marriage.

“It has nothing to do with bigotry, it has nothing to do with discrimination, it has to do with the vast majority of Kentuckians that respect traditional marriage being able to do so,” Schickel said.

SB 5 now moves on the House where the Democratic majority is working on their version of a marriage license bill.


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