Via the conservative-leaning PJ Media news site:
Mat Staver, the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, said Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin gave Kim Davis and all the other county clerks in the state a “wonderful Christmas gift” by protecting their religious rights and freedom.
Bevin issued an executive order two weeks after taking office that removes the names of all county clerks from marriage licenses issued in Kentucky. Staver said that will enable Davis and all other county clerks to do their jobs — issue marriage licenses to everyone, including same-sex couples — without compromising their religious principles.
Over at Instapundit (also part of PJ Media), the comments ranged from:
“Do we have a secular or sectarian society. While I respect Ms. Davis beliefs, rewriting law just for her was not the right [thing] to do.”
“It wasn’t just for her, it was for everyone like her, and a very reasonable way to accommodate the rights of all parties.”
Another commenter said, “Removing the clerk’s name from the license is a very hollow victory,” and I tend to agree with the observation, although the commenter may have been lamenting that marriage licenses are being issued to same-sex couples at all.
Government officials are responsible for following the law of the land, even when doing so is at odds with their own religious beliefs. They are public servants, not private, self-employed service providers.
But it’s for the good if a small, symbolic action can defuse a contentious “culture war” face off and serve civility without diminishing individual rights, and I tend to see that happening here.
More. Scott Shackford, at reason.com’s Hit & Run blog, notes there have been other recent compromises:
The conflict with Davis was the most visible representation of resistance, but it’s not the only one. … In North Carolina, lawmakers passed legislation allowing county employees to opt out of duties performing marriages or issuing licenses if they have religious objections. But the county is also obligated to make sure magistrates or clerks are available to pick up the slack and that the county keeps regular hours.
In Alabama, state law gives county probate judges complete discretion as to whether to issue [any] marriage licenses at all. In response to the Obergefell decision, some judges have opted out entirely.
These responses, too, seem like reasonable ways to move beyond culture war confrontations without denying gay couples the right to wed.