Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who has found herself in the middle of a religious liberty firestorm for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples based on her biblical beliefs, would have had a much easier time of it if she lived in a different state.
For example, in Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal issued an executive order that would protect government employees who do not support same-sex marriage.
Jindal issued the directive after the state legislature punted on the Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act, under which state agencies wouldn't be able to interfere with people who refuse to recognize same-sex marriage due to their religious beliefs.
"The idea being that if you have a traditional view of marriage being between a man and a woman, the government cannot sanction you for that," Jindal tells The Daily Signal. "The idea being that if you're a government employee, if you're a florist, if you're a retailer or whatever, that you shouldn't be punished for believing like I do that marriage is between a man and a woman."
In the case of Davis, Jindal's executive order in Louisiana would have protected her from jail time and the controversy.
Jindal admits, however, that what is really needed is action by state legislators, not just an executive order.
"The reason I say you need legislation is that as governor, sometimes those executive orders don't reach into the judiciary. It depends on how the clerks are organized."
Attorneys for Davis wanted Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear to call a special session of the state legislature or issue an executive order that would allow marriage licenses to be issued by the Commonwealth of Kentucky rather than the local clerk's office. He refused to do either.
At this point, without an accommodation, Davis is back at work. She's not issuing licenses herself. Instead, her deputies are doing them, and the actual license itself says "pursuant to federal court order" on it. Davis' name is not on it, and neither is "Rowan County, Kentucky." The licenses say "city of Morehead," the county seat.
Jindal says the whole travesty is extremely troubling. "Today, apparently, if you mishandle classified information like Hillary Clinton did, you can run for president. If you don't believe in marriage you go to jail. What's wrong with our country?"
David Brody, the chief political correspondent at CBN News, is a contributor to The Daily Signal. Send an email to David.
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