The Governor of Kentucky has told clerks to agree to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples – or quit their jobs.
The highest court in the US ruled last month that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, and must be recognised in all 50 US states.
However, some clerks in Kentucky have defied the ruling – with a gay couple catching on camera the moment they were denied a license at a clerk’s office in Kentucky.
Despite opposing same-sex marriage himself in court just months ago, Democratic Governor Steve Beshear has ordered all clerks to obey the constitution and allow same-sex weddings.
He said: “When you voluntarily decide to run for office, and you win, and you raise your hand and you take the oath to uphold the Constitutions of the United States… that oath doesn’t say ‘I will uphold the parts of the Constitution that I agree with and won’t with the parts I don’t agree with.’”
“You can continue to have your own personal beliefs but, you’re also taking an oath to fulfil the duties prescribed by law, and if you are at that point to where your personal convictions tell you that you simply cannot fulfil your duties that you were elected to do, than obviously an honourable course to take is to resign and let someone else step-in who feels that they can fulfil those duties.”
Beshear himself is a former opponent of equality.
He claimed in a legal brief in April that since straight people can’t marry people of the same gender either, it is not homophobic to ban same-sex marriage.